Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

















February 28, 2013


Go, Look: Ronald Searle's Ireland

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Go, Read: Alan Gardner Talks To Jimmy Margulies, Newly Laid-Off From The Record

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Here. Margulies had been working for years at The Record in Hackensack, and is a solid, well-liked, widely-syndicated cartoonist with all the usual magazine and paper-of-record placement credits. He's won the Fischetti and the Barryman, and recently appeared on the NRA blacklist. I'm pretty certain I've seen a book or two of his, as well.

I appreciate Gardner doing those interviews. It looks like Margulies will continue to work for the publication as their needs warrant.
 
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Go, Look: Gay Manga Tumblr

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The Never-Ending, Four-Color Festival: Cons, Shows, Events

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By Tom Spurgeon

* ECCC is closing in. Hope to see you there. Basically my only advice for ECCC boils down to 1) work the comics room, because the strength is in the number and quality of comics pros exhibiting in the main funnybook hall there, 2) do a little research on Seattle and find things to do like have dinner in a nice restaurant or do some shopping in one of the fine downtown boutiques or watch them toss fish around or perhaps start a heroin habit (first taste is usually free). See you over there.

* by the way, I was in three Seattle comics shops yesterday and all three took more than five phone calls from people asking after tickets, which are very, very scarce and limited. So it's officially a thing.

* MoCCA Festival has announced a festival prize of sorts, with an all-star jury. I encourage everyone exhibiting to engage Gary Groth in long conversations about sports. Actually, I'm probably going to write about this again next week. This looks like the kind of thing where people are going to have major problems with it; I just can't immediately suss out exactly what those are. We have a lot of damn awards right now.

* I'm going to do a stand-alone piece on this tomorrow but in case today is better for you to go do this: Eisner Hall Of Fame voting ends on Monday. You should vote here. Russ Manning nominees are also be accepted. I encourage people to vote for everything where they're eligible to vote and to submit for everything that they're eligible to receive.

* the MSU Comics Forum event begins today. Nick Bertozzi is on-hand. Man, when comics people first got on-line it was various chat rooms, Usenet and that MSU comics index.

* Art Spiegelman went to Vancouver and David Lester took notes.

* finally, here's a nice report on John Cuneo's work as recently exhibited.
 
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If I Were In East Lansing, I'd Go To This

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Not Comics: Henry Justice Ford

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Sean T. Collins on Ant Comic.

* not comics: always happy for a solid veteran like Steven Grant to enjoy increased exposure via a film adaptation, and Grant's an interesting guy generally.

* Greg McElhatton reviews that new Batman comic where they kill that little boy.

* Tessa Miller profiles Ryan North. Brigid Alverson talks to Calista Brill and Colleen AF Venable. Michael Cavna profiles Stephan Pastis.

* here's a piece at Hooded Utilitarian on bailing out of mainstream comic books for specific content reasons. I'd have to have more time to read the piece closely to characterize it without potentially doing the argument a disservice.'

* Graeme McMillan wonders out loud if the trend of reviving characters may be more difficult to do as we reach the limit of characters to be revived and head into times marked by previous character revivals more than new character creation.

* not comics: hey, nice lamp.

* finally, it's hard for me to imagine an article much more fun than Gene Luen Yang writing about the similarities between Chinese opera and North American superhero comics.
 
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Happy 29th Birthday, Lauren Barnett!

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February 27, 2013


Go, Look: My Prince

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part one; part two
 
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Tom Tomorrow Wins The 2013 Herblock Prize

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A bunch of the political sites and the cartooning-related news entities picked up on a release yesterday that Dan Perkins, the longtime creator of This Modern World as Tom Tomorrow, won the 2013 Herblock Prize.

That press release says the feature still appears in 80 papers, which to my mind makes it something of a giant in that vastly reduced landscape. Perkins is also the editor of the comics section at the Daily Kos site.

As this site is very much pro all the comics awards that come with cash prizes in the hopes of encouraging more of them, it's worth noting that the Herblock Prize comes with a $15K after-taxes gift from the massive Herb Block Foundation, created with the massive, I believe media-stock related holdings of the late cartoonist.

The ceremony will be held on April 25 at the Library of Congress. Previous winners include Matt Bors, Tom Toles and Jim Morin.
 
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Go, Look: Leo Burdak

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A Few, Random Tips For Attending Emerald City Comicon

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1. Work The Entire Room
I don't know that Emerald City has worked out a firm identity for itself the way that HeroesCon has forged a relationship with a drawing culture that favors sketches and more sketches and then some more sketches followed by an art auction. Its reputation in comics seems to be that of a super-solid show, one that treats its professionals well, so let's start there. With so many talented creators on hand perhaps the greatest joy I've had at this show is simply walking around the room and interacting with all of the talent on-hand. I might suggest even making a full circuit before you buy anything -- the exception being someone you simply have to have sign something, which might be worth sacrificing any other sort of strategy, particularly if their line is short. Any show that has cartoonists like Moritat, Steve Lieber and Brandon Graham just sitting at various locations around the room waiting to talk to you -- not to mention hidden gems like last year stumbling across Kevin Nowlan -- is a pretty darn good show. Walk and talk.

image2. Seek Out The Guy That Sells Old Silver Age Material Super-Ass Cheap
I don't remember this guy's name, but there's a dealer there that sells a metric ton of lower grade Silver Age comics for less than five dollars a pop. He's my favorite con-dealer ever. You may notice his presence because there will be a bald guy with a beard snapping up late-period Jack Kirby Fantastic Fours and cackling. I actually think it's a good show for dealers overall, with a graspable selection of guys on-hand, mostly featuring different things. You could probably do the whole crew in less than half a day. Dealers are comics conventions for those of us that remember a time when you went to comic book shows because otherwise you couldn't find the comics you wanted. It's always nice to remember that. It's also nice to leave a show with a little stack of comic books.

3. Drink Local Coffee
Starbucks is a local coffee joint, really, but that's not what I mean. Seattle loves its coffee enough that it has a number of really solid, full-service coffee places that don't have a franchise option. You might try this one, right up Pike from the convention center. I used to haunt the top-of-Capitol Hill location back when I lived in the city. Search near wherever you're staying or ask a local, though. It's not like these are going to be uncomfortable, weird, tiny places.

4. Steal Away To A Restaurant
Seattle is a pretty good food city. Downtown is probably the trickiest neighborhood in which to find a place to eat because there are a lot of places that serve people a) with a lot of money and/or b) that don't really give a shit about maximizing their food experiences and/or c) that are tourists and enjoy chain-restaurant eating. You might have to dig a bit, in other words, but it pays off. Here's a list of places Anthony Bourdain visited on a recent show; here's a list of places from Seattle folks pushing back against that list. I'm not sure that I have a specific recommendation down there, although restaurants that have been around a million years are usually pretty good and I always thought Seattle did underrated storefront Italian. You'll find a lot of stuff in that $15-$30 entree range. Also remember that the big dinner-out days are big dinner-out days generally: Friday and Saturday. You might have to wait, and having a smaller party rather than a big one could be key. Also, maybe don't let the guy who made $1500 selling art pick the place.

5. Seek Out Programming
I only went to a few pieces of programming last year: a Robin McConnell panel with Bill Sienkiewicz and a Seattle comics culture panel hosted by Larry Reid. Both were solid and fun, although admittedly I was in a honeymoon phase with conventions in general at that point. The bigger-name mainstream panels tend to fill up, so you might have to wait in line. I think I heard of a Jeff Parker spotlight conducted by David Brothers that sounds worth attending.

6. Use Public Transit
The professionals late-night culture at this show is I believe pretty hotel bar focused, with an undercurrent of people bailing out on the comics convention altogether and spending time with their local friends in some neighborhood or another. I think it's a fine city in which to get around, and I like the public transit options. I might not like them as much if they were my only option day after day after day, but they're fine for a visit. It's also a fun city in which to walk, and the downtown is small enough that a short jump in a cab solves a lot of problems.

7. Register Early
I happened to be walking around downtown well before the show last year just to check things out and found a registration line for press, got that settled in about ten minutes, and spent an hour or so checking out the set-up of the place and chatting with people. It was really, really fun, and press doesn't get to do that at a lot of shows. At any rate, I'm told that registration in general is pretty easy across the board. It's certainly casual, but so is Seattle.

8. If You Can, Seek Out The Fantagraphics Store
I'm not sure that I can recommend a specific comics-related stop to make there in the city. Perry Plush's fine Zanadu Downtown store is the one I used when I was roaming around in that part of town. It's a solid shop, or at least it was a decade ago and I have no reason to think otherwise. I have yet to to to the Fantagraphics store, and would like to make that trip during this year's event. That's become more of an events space in terms of what we hear about it, and I'm not sure Fantagraphics does events down there that weekend, but I'd still like to see it.

9. Remember To Have A Good Time
This may be a function of my getting older, or the fact that this show is first up in the calendar year for a lot of those attending, but one thing that struck me about the ECCC that I attended is that people seemed to be having a pleasant time at the show itself, as opposed to enduring a madhouse in order to get to the good times on either side of show hours. So have fun on the floor. Meet somebody new. Say thanks to somebody that's provided you with a fun moment or two. Smile.

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Go, Look: Lena H. Chandhok

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This Isn't A Library: Notable Releases To The Comics Direct Market

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Here are the books that make an impression on me staring at this week's no-doubt largely accurate list of books shipping from Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. to comic book and hobby shops across North America.

I might not buy all of the works listed here. I might not buy any. You never know. I'd sure look at the following, though.

*****

DEC121247 NEMO HEART OF ICE HC $14.95
There aren't as many genre series that have been as reliably strong as these books have been, so I look forward to any iteration that arrives on shelves.

imageDEC121248 WORLD WAR 3 ILLUSTRATED #44 (MR) $7.00
It's an odd week for comics, or at least comics that I tend to buy. If I were in a comics shop I think I would be casting around a bit, perhaps saving my money to buy books directly from authors at ECCC. At any rate, if my store were one of those awesome ones that carried magazines like WW3 Illustrated, I would certainly take note of a new issue.

NOV120056 ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN ARCHIVES HC VOL 02 $49.99
NOV120057 ARCHIE ARCHIVES HC VOL 08 $59.99
These are two Dark Horse collection efforts that have been a little more difficult for me to track than others. I don't have a refined knowledge of Silver Age comics that would tell me exactly what's in an Adventures Into The Unknown archival collection, but I would certainly check one out were it to appear in front of me on a book rack. The Archie material is being collected a few different places in a few different way and while I've been looking at all of it I don't know that I'm all in on any one series yet.

DEC120320 JOE KUBERT PRESENTS #5 $4.99
DEC120420 ROCKETEER HOLLYWOOD HORROR #1 $3.99
DEC120582 PROPHET #34 [DIG] $3.99
DEC120693 HAWKEYE #8 $2.99
This is what popped for me new-serial-comic-book wise. The first two are actually book I'd want to see before I thought about buying them, particularly the Rocketeer effort, which is a series of new comics I haven't been tracking at all. In fact, I'm more just glad that there's an audience for off-mainstream costumed adventure more than I have a drive to see those comics myself. The Prophet and the Hawkeye have been the most reliable mainstream comics effort in their specific sub-categories for months and months now.

JAN131159 OLYMPIANS GN VOL 01 ZEUS KING OF THE GODS $9.99
JAN131160 OLYMPIANS GN VOL 02 ATHENA GREY EYED GODDESS $9.99
JAN131161 OLYMPIANS GN VOL 03 HERA GODDESS AND HER GLORY $9.99
These First Second George O'Connor book have sold pretty well and have a little market force with multiple volumes out.

NOV121028 XIII CINEBOOK ED GN VOL 08 THIRTEEN TO ONE $11.95
NOV121029 XIII CINEBOOK ED GN VOL 09 FOR MARIA $11.95
NOV121030 XIII CINEBOOK ED GN VOL 10 EL CASCADOR $11.95
DEC120976 XIII CINEBOOK ED GN VOL 11 THREE SILVER WATCHES $13.95
DEC120977 XIII CINEBOOK ED GN VOL 12 TRIAL $11.95
DEC120978 XIII CINEBOOK ED GN VOL 13 TOP SECRET $11.95
I would spend some time with a six XIII books if they showed up in front of me, why the hell not? People like that series. I think there's even a TV version somewhere with alternate-universe Aragorn or someone like that. Or maybe I'm thinking of another series entirely. Someone e-mailed me that all the Cinebook books showed up this week at once, so if you're a fan of that line you should probably slow dance with the more complete new releases list that's available through one of the links.

NOV121242 MITCH O CONNELL TATTOOS SC (MR) $14.95
NOV121241 MITCH OCONNELL WORLDS BEST ARTIST SC (MR) $35.00
I'm a fan of Mitch O'Connell, briefly a sequential comics artist some three decades ago and a longtime painter of hipster-friendly iconography. He is skilled, and this is an older book and a brand-new book, both of which I want to own.

JAN131345 KINGS IN DISGUISE TP $16.95
JAN131344 ON THE ROPES HC $24.95
Speaking of decades-ago comics work, this is the James Vance/Dan Burr depressing-setting work from that period and a seminal graphic novel of its day and the brand-new sequel set a bit later in the 1930s than the first one. That's a long-time coming, but super-welcome. Hooray for comics.

*****

The full list of this week's releases, including some titles with multiple cover variations and a long, impressive list of toys and other stuff that isn't comics, can be found here. Despite this official list there's no guarantee a comic will show up in the stores as promised, or in all of the stores as opposed to just a few. Also, stores choose what they carry and don't carry so your shop may not carry a specific publication. There are a lot of comics out there.

To find your local comic book store, check this list; and for one I can personally recommend because I've shopped there, albeit a while back, try this.

The above titles are listed with their Diamond order code in the first field, which may assist you in finding comics at your shop or having them order something for you they don't have in-stock. Ordering through a direct market shop can be a frustrating experience, so if you have a direct line to something -- you know another shop has it, you know a bookstore has it -- I'd urge you to consider all of your options.

If I failed to list your comic, that's because I hate you.

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Not Comics: A Franklin Booth Illustration Series

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Missed It: Cold Air

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Koyama Press sent out a release two days ago indicating that Ed Kanerva would be coming to work for the company as a full-time publishing assistant starting March 1. Congratulations to the company and to Mr. Kanerva on the new arrangement.

image* Brian Garde on Zombies Hi. Carla Hoffman on the latest round of superhero spy comics. Charles Hatfield on Fairy Quest: Outlaws #1.

* Marvel's Stephen Wacker dispenses advice.

* Tim O'Shea talks to Paul Allor. Chris Arrant talks to Joe Keatinge. Andy Mueller talks to Duane Swierczynski.

* not comics: I find this super-weird.

* I think I already mentioned this, but there's a DC plotline where one of its name characters is killed off -- not even the classic name character, someone relatively new that's wearing the costume. There are some attempts to kind of focus on the story being told as it's an exit book for Grant Morrison as he wraps up this big-icon phase of his at DC. Still, what fascinates is all the other stuff, if only briefly and without much heat: the fact that mainstream media loves running stories like this now, that DC is happy to "spoil" a storyline for the PR boost, that this will send people into comics shops looking to buy comics that will be worth a bit more than cover value only if a lot of people run into comic shops wanting this comic book, and that although they're getting rid of a pretty good character and one of the few newer ones that might make a comic with him in it distinguishable from a comic book DC released in 1997 that this isn't seen as something they can't walk back if they want to.

* finally, Kevin Melrose has a write-up on the significant amount of money brought in by auctioned Watchmen cover artwork. That's a lot of money, but that's not money I begrudge anyone making as long as they obtained the original works legally and honorably, which I believe to be the case here.
 
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Happy 51st Birthday, Andy Kubert!

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Happy 53rd Birthday, Jeff Smith!

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Happy 53rd Birthday, Norm Breyfogle!

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Happy 42nd Birthday, Barry Matthews!

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February 26, 2013


Magnus Johnstone, RIP

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Go, Look: Patrick Dean Has An Etsy Store

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Columbia University Libraries Acquires Elfquest Archives

imageThere's a very thorough press release here about the Columbia University Libraries acquiring the comics archives of Elfquest material for its growing comics holdings. That's the institution whose comics efforts are spearheaded by Karen Green, a regular presence for years now at comics shows and one of the key figures in comics and comics art at libraries right now.

It looks like the primary value of that archive is a massive if not complete collection of original art for the long-running series.

I think that's a fine thing to bring in-house for an institution like that, and I think they have it right that Elfquest Vol. 1 played a key role as both an independent comics project from the 1970s -- helping forge a place in the burgeoning Direct Market for non-superhero genre work guided by smaller companies -- and as a work whose primary driving force creatively was a woman. So congratulations to Green and the library and Wendy Pini and Richard Pini. I'd like to see a big chunk of that work someday up close, and it looks like I'll maybe have that chance at some future date in New York.
 
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Not Comics: More Ronald Searle Wine Illustrations

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Not Comics: So I Watched The Oscars The Other Night

imageI saw about 95 percent of the televised Academy Awards ceremony the other night, at a nice home in southern California surrounded by actors and writers and people that work near actors and writers. I had a good time. I haven't watched that show since like 1995 or so, because I no longer have an interest in movies where watching those awards makes sense. The thing that seemed to most delight my fellow program-watchers was how fundamentally clueless I was about movie-culture as expressed at that event. For example, when they introduced Sandra Bullock as a past award-winner, I thought they were making fun of her. I was also fascinated by things those folks take for granted being around that city, like the opera-boxes at the theater, which I thought were cool.

Anyway, it got me thinking a bit about the role that awards have within an arts culture, because it's hard for me to fathom anyone planning a Sunday evening around consuming a comics-awards program, no matter how entertaining the show that surrounded it might be. I suspect the difference is money. Because of the money and the prestige-that-leads-to-money involved with winning an Academy Award, there's literally a bottom-line value to that show that kind of speaks to people in a way that awards may not speak to them in a more abstract, general manner. Without that bottom-line informing everything, it's pretty much how specifically and even personally involved you are with the nominees, or, potentially, the touchstone-value of an award as a career high point for you, a friend or a favorite. Barring even more years of specific cultural capital being accrued or, when it exists, a general belief in the awesomeness of awards -- which is the kind of thing that gets filtered through the movie industry awards prism, come to think of it -- people just may remain slightly disinterested in how those things work or who wins or, really, any of it.

This isn't exactly sterling observational work, of course, but I'm always intrigued by the existence of industry constructs in a medium where there isn't much of an industry anymore, and how those things operate. I was happy when Bill Blackbeard got into the Hall Of Fame, even though it can't mean much to anyone once they're gone and I wish we had had more for him while he was still with us. Still, it's something. These things function, like most institutions and traditions in the post-industry comics industry, in the manner we collectively decide they should function. That's not a bad position to be in, even if I can't talk to my high school friends about who might or might not make the comics' version of the memorial segment.
 
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Your Graphic Novel/Comics 2013 LAT Book Prize Nominees

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Category nominees in the LA Times Book Prizes have been named. This includes a graphic novel/comics category. These were the nominees.

* Alison Bechdel, for Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
* Leela Corman, for Unterzakhn (Schocken)
* Sammy Harkham, for Everything Together: Collected Stories (PictureBox)
* Spain Rodriguez, for Cruisin' With the Hound: The Life and Times of Fred Toote (Fantagraphics)
* Chris Ware, for Building Stories (Pantheon)

The ceremony is April 19. The winner will be presented by Gina McIntyre.
 
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Go, Look: Exciting Romances #2

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

* Dan Zettworch offers a look at the final Leon Beyond collection cover.

image* here's something that I hadn't noticed: a collection of Steve Gerber Superman mythos stories. That's probably not even a fair description; I'm largely unfamiliar with that work. There's a lot of things I wish for the legacy of Steve Gerber, and one of them is that as much of his work as possible remain in -- or return to -- print.

* OTBP: a David Lasky comic lurks in this mostly-prose anthology.

* ComicsAlliance has a long story up about how East Press was convinced to do a Bible stories adaptation, after having done an adaptation of Mein Kampf.

* Brian Bendis will return to Brilliant.

* I'm not sure that I knew Jeffrey Brown was working on a sequel to his popular Darth-Vader-As-Attentive-Father book.

* so it looks like First Second and Paul Pope will be drumming up interest for this year's Battling Boy with a preview comic book. In my perfect world, all Paul Pope would do is make comic books, whatever size and format he liked.

* Tim Hamilton has a sneak peek on a work in progress.

* PW has word on a two-book deal for Raina Telgemeier, one of the more successful cartoonists of the last decade.

* Tessa Brunton is hard at work on a bigger-than-expected comic and would like to you show you the proof.

* finally, Satoshi Ken's Kaikisen will arrive in North America from Vertical.

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Go, Look: Gil Kane's Captain Marvel Splash Pages

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Go, Look: Luke Pearson

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* this is the first serious profile of the Indian comics industry I can remember seeing, especially in terms of the estimates involved.

image* Evan Dorkin draws and writes about the design work on the Marvel super-villain Ultron 5, a character I believe was created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema.

* my apologies if I double-up on some links this week, but I"m working from some link-lists I made when I wasn't able to access the site. At any rate, here's a piece on Ted White. John Siuntres talks to John Romita Jr. Victor Maas profiles Ben Katchor.

* not comics: Charles Vess draws Hope Mirrlees. Jim Blanchard draws in close-up. Chris Samnee draws The Penguin.

* not comics: let's see Kupperman do this.

* love for Chris Claremont and the impact his focus on female characters during his long run on the various X-Men books was eye-opening and even somewhat industry-changing within that specific realm for comics.

* not comics: these images are fun; sounds like a fun show.

* not comics: I'm not sure if there's a direct relationship to comics, but Donald Richie passed away and his story will be familiar to a lot of North American comics fans that fell in love with another culture in part because of its art.

* finally, a podcast review of So Buttons.
 
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Happy 55th Birthday, Karen Berger!

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Happy 62nd Birthday, Steve Bell!

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The San Diego Comic-Con Hotel Lottery Is Being Held Today

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February 25, 2013


Go, Look: Big Shot Comics #1

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Go, Read: Controversy Over Lee Judge Cartoon

Lee Judge of the Kansas City Star made a cartoon about a recent, much-discussed shooting death and when it was posted on-line a lot of folks complained. A few things are interesting here: that the cartoon didn't seem to have made a ripple before being posted where a bunch of folks could see it is one; the idea that cartoonists should be given ample leeway to make controversial works that anger us is another.
 
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Go, Look: A Bunch Of Early 1973 DC Comics Splashes

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Festivals Extra: Comic-Con Hotel Lottery Tomorrow

imageI received this e-mail late last week, which indicates the Comic-Con bloc of hotels will go up for grabs tomorrow morning.
Dear Comic-Con Participant,

Please find below the link to access the Travel Planners Housing landing page for Comic-Con 2013 hotel room requests. Travel Planners is the official housing provider for Comic-Con.

At 9:00am Pacific Time on February 26, 2013 you may click this link or copy and paste it into your browser: http://www.tphousing.com/comic-con-2013

OR you may call Travel Planners starting on February 26th at 9:00am Pacific Time:

1-877-55-COMIC (1-877-552-6642) or 212-532-1660.

To avoid delays during the request process please look at our hotel page in advance at http://www.comic-con.org/cci/hotels. Be sure to look at the hotel PDF and choose your top 6 hotels before housing opens as you will be required to select exactly 6 hotel choices.

There will be no direct link to the housing request form from the Comic-Con web site.

PLEASE DO NOT TRY THE LINK OR CALL BEFORE TUESDAY, FEB. 26 AT 9:00 AM PACIFIC TIME.

Thank you for your continued support

Sincerely,

Comic-Con International
The last few years it's been about listing hotels and then getting back the one available you list. I used to recommend all sorts of strategies, but the fact that a deposit is usually involved now makes getting people to reserve rooms on your behalf a much dicier proposition that it used to be.

I like all of the hotels. I've stayed at three or four of the hotels close enough to throw a football and hit that guy in the head outside of the convention that's dressed like Captain Stubing, and I've stayed 25 miles away. It's all good. I do like the hotels up around Broadway, though -- they're slightly easier to get into, and I never mind having the slight separation between show and hotel that this entails. I recommend just being patient and deliberate.

I also have to admit that getting on a bit early has worked for me in years past, or seems to have, even though Comic-Con warns against it in the e-mail above and for all I know this is a specifically and completely a disastrous strategy now.

Good luck.
 
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Go, Read: Tom Hart's Second Chapter Of Rosalie Lightning

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Comics By Request -- People, Projects In Need Of Funding

By Tom Spurgeon

image* JT Dockery has a crowd-funder going for his next comics project, called Despair.

* here's a place where you can go an access information about art purchases to help support the writer Peter David, who suffered a stroke late in 2012. Here's a place where you can learn more generally how to help.

* finally, here's a project that sent out a press release and everything, which indicates a seriousness of intent that you don't always get from crowd-funded projects in the entitlement age.
 
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Go, Look: A Few Frank Frazetta Comics Illustrations

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Go, Look: Pixoholic

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Chris Arrant talks to Nate Bellegarde. Brigid Alverson talks to Erin Polgreen. Alex Dueben talks to Richard Sala. James Romberger talks to Tom Kaczynski.

* not comics: Carol Burnett as Supergirl in an early '60s TV sketch.

* Clare Fentress on Susceptible. Tim Kreider on Paying For It. Rob Clough on various mini-comics. Frank Pauer profiles Drew Friedman.

* I'm not sure where the hell this came from, so apologies to the person that had it, but here's Robert Crumb talking about a whole bunch of different people of note.

* Ryan Holmberg on the seemingly inexhaustible subject of Osamu Tezuka and New Treasure Island.

* finally, here are some napping Avengers for your digital wallpapering needs.
 
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Happy 13th Anniversary To NeilAlien!

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Happy 38th Birthday, Tom Neely!

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Happy 84th Birthday, Arnold Roth!

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Happy 67th Birthday, Rick Geary!

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February 24, 2013


CR Sunday Interview: Richard Sala

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*****

imageRichard Sala is one of the best artists to have worked in comics the last three decades and one of the most underrated cartoonists generally. He may be better known for the general look and feel of his work than for any specific comics effort, which is understandable given how strongly the horror, fairy-tale, kids-adventure elements of his comics communicate. Sala is the kind of cartoonist around whom one builds cults except for the fact that he's never stopped working. In fact, his latest run of books may be his strongest: from the series Evil Eye now some 10-15 years behind us to much more recent efforts like Cat Burglar Black and The Hidden.

Sala's latest is a collected, hardcover version of Delphine, his series with the Ignatz line of oversized, high-production, intermittent-but-serial comic books done by an assortment of publishers with Coconino Press and Fantagraphics leading the way. Like all of Sala's recent work it's tightly structured and full of odd, affecting set pieces. It's also flat-out gorgeous. I was delighted he took some time to me. I wanted to talk to him a while back about The Hidden, but personal circumstances on my end got in the way -- please forgive my curiosity in the direction of older work during what follows. One of my fondest hopes for this age of arresting imagery and passed-around moments is that the comics world learns to appreciate Richard Sala that much more than it does already. -- Tom Spurgeon

*****

TOM SPURGEON: Richard, I don't have a sense of how you work, particularly how much time you spend on comics in a week/month/year, how long it takes you to work. Can you talk about that a bit, just how much of your professional life involves comics and where it sits in the general constellation of what you do?

RICHARD SALA: It's a good question, but it's kind of hard to answer since comics are just a part of the stew. I'm always working on something, usually trying to juggle several projects, so it all depends on which deadline is closest. With comics I often have to make up my own deadlines. You especially have to do that these days, since it's all about graphic novels instead of a series. It was a lot easier to set up a deadline to finish 24 pages every couple of months when I had my series, Evil Eye. Somehow that was more palatable and conceivable. Nowadays, I'll write big reminders on my calendar. I guess it helps that I've always been pretty motivated and enjoy doing it.

These days there's the option of doing a serialized comic online. I've been working on a couple of ideas for that, but it's a serious commitment, so I want to be sure it's a good idea. In the meantime, to sort of test the waters, I started doing these themed exhibitions of my work online. I actually do those in a serial format. New work is posted once a week, with a set, finite number of pieces, so that it would last maybe a month or two. When all the work for a series has been posted, they stay up as individual online exhibitions.

The first series was "Unmasked," which was something I did for Halloween a few years ago. That was a group of portraits of various creatures and monsters, based on my childhood memories of monster masks. I had been doing new work every Halloween for several years, posting those online. But because I was doing so many of these small portraits, I would release a few new ones every few days during October, and I found that serial format really appealing.

imageSo I got more ambitious and did a series called "Skeleton Key." For that, I released 40 character portraits, each accompanied by kind of fanciful biographical information, every week for about three months. The sub-title was "A Secret History" because it was a guide to characters who have appeared in my work in various places over the years, but I was also revealing new details about them. like background information or hints of other adventures that aren't anywhere in the actual books. I even included several new characters who aren't in any of my books at all and some who are but are only minor characters and gave them all these sometimes elaborate backstories. There's some crossover with a lot of these characters, so I was playing with the concept of creating a guide to my very own fictional universe. I mean, it was totally tongue in cheek but at the same time I was pretty serious, if that makes sense. I have a fatherly affection for these silly characters and their worlds. Plus, believe it or not, I had always wanted to do something along the lines of Borges' "Universal History of Infamy" which I read years ago and which made a big impact on me. But if that sounds too snooty, I was also inspired by bubblegum cards, the kind with the picture on the front and the description or bio on the back. There was a series I had as a kid called "Pirates Bold" that I was particularly fond of, because you got a cool portrait on the front and on the back you could read about their horrible, bloody lives. For the portraits themselves, I kind of imagined those as old Aurora model kits from the 1960s, in which you'd have the full figure of a character in their environment frozen in a cool pose. Anyway, this was something I did primarily for my own enjoyment, but I got nice, encouraging reactions from people who like my work. To be honest, while I was working on it, I'd have these moments where I felt almost like an outsider artist in his own little deluded world -- like, do these characters even mean anything to anybody but me? But I ended up hearing from more people than I ever expected to who seemed to enjoy it -- which was was gratifying and encouraging.

I set up a separate gallery for the complete Skeleton Key work which you can read in order here.

The portraits for that series were pretty small, only around 9" x 12". For the next series, I wanted to do larger, more elaborate work. I came up with "Autumn and Evil," which was that old artists' stand-by, the alphabet. That consisted of 26 watercolor and ink drawings featuring homages to classic genre situations and characters.

I've got The Autumn and Evil series set up on my tumblr so it can be viewed in alphabetical order here.

For years it was frustrating that I couldn't get my color work properly into print. Either the reproduction would be horrible or (as far as comics went) it wasn't economically viable. I'm glad I lived long enough to be able to do more color work and have a place where people can see them.

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I love working in watercolor because it's all about trusting your abilities and having the confidence to let happy accidents happen. You can't make major corrections with the kind of watercolor and ink drawings I do. You can make changes later in photoshop if you want to, and you can make small changes by touching up very carefully with gouache. But it's always a bit of a tightrope. Also, I'm not one of those famously fastidious cartoonists who are very careful with every line. I'm kind of a fuck-up, actually. I can barely get measurements right even when I'm using a ruler. I've appalled fellow cartoonists when they see me pull out a Dixon Ticonderoga #2 lead pencil and a pink eraser instead of whatever expensive tools they're using. My watercolor palettes are caked with years of dried paint, which I can bring back to life like magic with water.

Tip: Always squeeze out the entire tube onto your palette; even if you don't use much of that color initially, it will be available to use for years! Plus, never, ever clean your palettes off, it's a total waste! Buy more palettes before you clean old ones.

For most of my inking I use a nib that's not even intended for the kind of work I do -- a Hunt 108 which I think is designed for fancy script lettering -- because after spending years looking for the right tools, that nib gave me what I wanted. I can get an elegant line of varying width while still being able to press down hard if I want to, like I'm making incisions. Then I love to splash watercolor on my dried ink drawings and watch the puddles of colors mingle and blend together. There's always a chance that I might ruin the drawing beyond any repair, but I like the challenge and the rush of energy I get trying to make it work.

So yeah, I'm glad I can show off my color work online in ways I never could have otherwise. I never expected the internet to become as much a part of my life and art as it has. I guess that's something only someone who remembers life before the internet would say. It's so great to be able to check in on colleagues -- on Facebook or whatever -- and see what they're up to while I have my morning coffee. I feel a kinship with other working artists. I go way back with some of them and others I've never met, but I love hearing about what they're working on. It can be inspiring. I like checking out new work by younger artists, too, and I'll wonder if it would be creepy to comment and tell them when I think their art is cool or if I like something they said. In fact, it is creepy and I shouldn't do it, but sometimes I forget that until after it's too late.

Anyway, I know things can change fast these days, so I'm just enjoying the opportunity to display my color work online for now for whoever wants to see them. At a certain point we'll probably do a print collection, so they may not stay up forever, I don't know. As much as I like being able to display my work online, I'm still a book lover at heart.

So, anyway -- that's sort of an overview of where things are right now. It won't be long before I do another online project. And I'll have a new book from Fantagraphics some time in 2014 or early 2015, hopefully. But it's too early to talk about any of that.

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SPURGEON: I want to focus mostly on Delphine, but it struck me you've had a number of books the last five years or so, you've been as productive as anyone. I'm hoping I can get two or three questions in on those books I was wondering what you thought about the work you did in Cat Burglar Black now that you're a few years removed from it? I thought the art in that was almost luminous, the colors were so pretty. Were you happy with the way that one turned out. Cat Burglar Black also seemed a really interesting publishing partnership for you, with First Second and their interest in all-ages books, or at least books with those kind of classic kids-literature hooks. I haven't talked to a bunch of their authors; was that a positive experience, different than some of your classic alt-comics publishing experiences in any way you can recall? Are you still working with them?

SALA: With Cat Burglar Black, I was aware that something specific was expected of me. That is, Fantagraphics is usually very tolerant of whatever silly concept I throw at them, they just want me to be me. With First Second, I felt I had a responsibility to deliver something more blatantly commercial. I was grateful I'd been given that chance and I didn't want to let anyone down. But, in the end, even though I tried my best, I guess I did let them down. I mean, I had hoped to do a sequel where I could tie up loose ends, and then maybe develop things to the point where we'd have a series of books with those characters. That had been part of the discussion from the very beginning. I recall talking with one of the editors during the initial pitch about the French character Fantomette, and we discussed how cool it would be to create an on-going series in the US like Fantomette is in France. But that didn't happen, although I'm still not entirely sure why it didn't. I mean, I'm not trying to sound naive. Sometimes things just don't work out. I asked if the sales had been disappointing and was told they weren't. But maybe they were just being nice, who knows.

imageThe process wasn't my ideal way of working. I had to type up a complete script and get it approved before I could draw a single line. I don't think that's the way most cartoonists work. Our scripts are often like storyboards, right? The process of having to write out a description of a place or a character or an action that could easily have been depicted in a sketch made things needlessly complicated and time-consuming. But I was part of the very first batch of artists who signed on, so maybe it's changed since then, I don't know. Or maybe some cartoonists just stand their ground and tell them that's not the way they work. They didn't listen to me when I said that, though, it just wasn't negotiable. They had to see a finished script first.

Then, the first editor I was assigned was a freelancer, not someone on staff, and that was a bit of a bumpy ride, mainly because he wasn't always as available as I would have liked. Just going back and forth with the changes to the script took months, which was frustrating. I had been ready to work on it non-stop, but weeks would go by and I wouldn't hear from him so nothing would get done. My book was clearly not a priority in his life -- which is fine, but it was just so inefficient. I wrote to First Second a few times because I was concerned about losing so much time, and they insisted I had to go through this process. My proposal was accepted in November 2004 and it wasn't until May 2007 that I was told that the script was done I could finally start on the "visuals." Over two years on the script alone, not one drawing allowed, with maybe ten actual revision requests from the editor, and less than twenty emails altogether. Not to mention that it made my relatively low advance seem like a bit of a joke. But I guess my experience wasn't unusual.

Anyway, at that point I was handed over to a staff editor at First Second, and even though we had to go over the entire script again, at least the wheels were finally turning. But because getting that initial script approval had taken so long, and we had fallen so far behind, I had to rush on the art much more than I would have liked. I still can't look at some of the pages. A lot of them were completed in photoshop to save time, which I've never done before or since. Some of the pages of original art are filled with mistakes that I corrected on the scans, so it would be too embarrassing to show them or try to sell them, and I had been hoping to be able to sell the art. But we finished the thing and they did a nice job with the design -- an amazing job actually by Colleen AF Venable. And Gina Gagliano, who did the marketing, was also very kind and helpful.

But -- maybe that had something do with why we didn't do a sequel? Like -- because I had complained a couple of times about the process? I don't know. When you're neurotic you can't stop wondering about things that seem either obvious or insignificant to other people, I guess. And if someone seems sphinx-like and unforthcoming to you, it may simply mean that they have no interest in you whatsoever. It's like when you ask a friend about what other people think of you: "Are they saying awful things about me?" "No, they never even mention you at all."

I looked at the other books they've been releasing and most seem to be drawn in that style of the generation influenced by modern Disney movies and anime. That's pretty foreign to me (although I understand being influenced by stuff from your youth -- I am, too). They also seem really slick, with any personal stylistic idiosyncrasies kind of ironed out. So maybe that had something to do with things not continuing -- just a stylistic gap that was too wide and I couldn't provide the look they wanted. But then I see they're publishing a Matt Kindt book in hardcover. So, I don't know. At some point you have to admit to yourself that you can't be everyone's cup of tea and move on.

The heroine's backstory was pretty dark, more like Dickens than Disney. It was important to me that there would be actual danger, where characters might be hurt or be killed. There was some questioning of that, of course. But I didn't want to write about a gang of thieves where everyone is happy and safe and there are no consequences for seriously dangerous behavior. And I don't think kids want that either. I certainly didn't. I liked reading things that seemed intense when I was a kid. I liked that I could handle it. Anyway, some of the darker stuff was there as a hook for the sequel, where people who it seems might have come to bad ends actually didn't.

imageThe sequel was going to revolve around the heroine discovering that the entire town near the school -- where her friends disappeared -- has been designed as a haven for criminals in hiding, with tunnels connecting the houses. She meets a kindred spirit in one of the houses she breaks into, a lonely kid who helps her solve the mystery of the town and it's residents. And she finds that at least one of her friends is not only alive, but has joined up with the bad guys and they're now on opposite sides, so there's some conflict and heartache. I don't know, maybe it's better off ending where it did. But anyway, First Second and I did the whole "first refusal" thing, where I asked if they were interested and they weren't -- so the rights to a sequel officially reverted to me. So I could still do it, I suppose. But as the years go by it seems less and less likely.

Speaking of things that are troubling and that artists now have to worry about apparently, this was my first encounter with something called a "no-fee option" from Hollywood. It's really insidious, because traditionally an option from Hollywood is something a creative person hopes for. You're paid a fee to give them the right to look into making a movie of your work over a set amount of time, even if they never do. And after that set amount of time, which is usually a year I think, if they want to renew the option, they have to pay you again. At least one well-known cartoonist famously lived off the annual renewed options on his work for a movie that was never made, so the story goes, and he probably wasn't alone. First Second was representing the movie and TV rights for Cat Burglar Black and I got an e-mail saying that someone in Hollywood wanted to take out a short-term, no-fee option. I'd never heard of that before. It meant that they would only have the option for three months, with no option to renew it. I was told that this was actually a good sign because it indicated that they were very serious and a sale was virtually guaranteed. So I agreed to it. What the hell did I know? Of course, nothing ever happened. After the three months had passed, I wrote First Second several times to find out if indeed the option had been returned to me, since I figured I should make sure they hadn't been able to renew the option for free, and I just wanted to find out if anyone could tell me anything else about what happened. Some people promised to look into it, but never got back to me. Finally I realized how pointless and naive it was to keep asking about it. You feel like a pathetic pest. And that was that. I never heard another word about it. So some producer was able to take out an option on my book and presumably shop it around without having to pay a cent. Anyway, just another thing to drive artists crazy.

SPURGEON: The Hidden is an incredibly brutal piece of work, and one that I know my friends have talked about as a book that maybe didn't get the attention it deserved. There's a real element to your later works where the horror of these kind of relentlessly hopeless situations is played up, and I think that may get its best workout here. Do you modulate at all the scenarios you depict, does how distressing a situation you're depicting weigh on you at all? It also strikes me you might have a different opinion on that work altogether.

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SALA: Yeah, I guess I needed to get back to something violent and nihilistic. I wanted to do my take on an end of the world horror story, but somehow make it unique. I suppose I could have done another version of a zombie apocalypse, and maybe that would have been easier to sell. But the kind of end of the world stories that are the most memorable to me are the ones where there was a mystery about what had happened and why. That can add to the sense of disorientation. Then when the truth is revealed it can be a bit of a shock. There's not much mystery left in zombie apocalypse stories. They seem to have evolved more into the adventure genre than horror.

In The Hidden, the reader gets information late in the story that explains the mystery and it's supposed to be a bit of a surprise. There is a well-known, classic character behind everything, but I never come right out and say it. I allow the reader to connect the dots. Some reviews gave it away in their first line while others were really discreet about it, but I don't think it mattered either way. It doesn't wreck the experience of reading it if you know it going in, I don't think.

As for whether depicting violent scenes may weigh on me -- it's more like I'm exorcising demons, as cliché as that sounds. I mean, you feel somewhat conflicted, but there are primal forces at work. There are dark thoughts fighting with all the reasonable ones, something to do with my Italian roots maybe, or something from childhood, rising out of abuse or repression. And for the reader, the violence may provide a safe catharsis. At least it always felt that way to me. I also wanted to say something sort of political in this book, in kind of an angry way, so that meant pushing the boundaries a bit. There's nothing worse than seeing hope or innocence destroyed by forces that truly don't care.

All that being said, I've certainly seen comics that are much more violent than mine. Plus I imagine that maybe the way I draw makes violent scenes somewhat easier to take, although it's hard for an artist to see their style the way others see it. I guess it's ultimately an individual threshold, the tolerance for what kind of and how much violence you want to see. For every person who thinks my work looks too bloody, there's another who thinks it's not bloody enough.

SPURGEON: Do you feel it found its audience?

SALA: I don't know. I've learned over the years to be much more patient about that. I've never been one of those cartoonists whose books are read and reviewed as soon as they're released. No one is telling anyone that they have to read my books. But somehow people seem to find my work, eventually. I have a relatively small audience, I guess, but they seem enthusiastic and devoted. And with each new book, new readers go back and buy my older books, or so I'm told. I get letters from readers who have only recently discovered me all the time. Reviews will trickle in over months. I'll get really thoughtful reviews of books that came out years ago. That actually makes me feel more like I'm a part of the big picture, the big sea of books -- it's kind of comforting. I feel like it points to the possibility that people will continue to discover my books long after I'm gone and that's kind of gratifying.

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SPURGEON: Delphine got its start as one of the books in the Ignatz line, which was an admirable partnership by Fantagraphics and a number of European publishers, I think spearheaded by Igort. I know almost nothing about how that group of comics came about from the creators' perspective. How were you approached? Were you edited? What was that experience like?

SALA: As I recall, the word went out from Fantagraphics that this partnership was going to happen and artists were encouraged to submit ideas. I don't know how it was for anyone else, but I wrote up a proposal, which -- I'm slightly embarrassed to say -- included the line that has been used to advertise Delphine to this day: "A modern version of Snow White as told from the point of view of the prince." That line in the solicitation for the first issue in the Diamond distribution catalog was high concept enough to get Hollywood calling, believe it or not. I had a number of very flattering conversations with genuine Hollywood people about it, but my schedule was way too slow for them. They had no intention of waiting two years for me to finish the thing. And sure enough, before my last issue came out, Hollywood was swimming in Snow White and fairy tale re-imaginings.

SPURGEON: To back up a second, Richard, I don't even know what your penetration is into European comics. Have you been publishing over there all along? What's your non-English language readership like?

SALA: I don't how how much penetrating of the European scene I've managed to do either, actually. I leave that up to my publishers, I guess. I know there was a very handsome French version of The Chuckling Whatsit from Vertige Graphic which was titled Un Rire Dans La Nuit. There were Spanish versions of my two Peculia books, I think. I know I have a following in Europe, but most of those readers own the English language versions of my books.

imageSPURGEON: Part of the design with the Ignatz line was I believe to find a serial comics format that might have enough saturation to send people into specialty shops or to other places that might carry them -- I think of Evil Eye as coming pretty late in the run of standard alt-comics. Is there something about doing serial comics that's specifically appealing to you?

SALA: I love doing serial comics. I miss doing them. I've been considering doing a web comic, just so I could experience that again. I like being able to extend the mystery, dropping clues and hints of things to come. Plus it's just so much fun to write cliffhangers!

SPURGEON: Did the format and printing parameters of what the Ignatz line was offering change you approached the work at all? Do those kind of restrictions or limitations ever have an impact on projects for you?

SALA: Not really. Just happy to get the opportunity!

SPURGEON: I don't want to talk about too many of the set pieces in Delphine, because I don't want to give them away, but I loved the car trip, just because that seems to plug into so many directly specific experience that a lot of us have -- this kind of loss of control being dragged around by someone we don't know. Can you talk about how you develop an idea like that, where it comes from, what's important for you to get down on paper?

SALA: Some of those scenes were exaggerated versions of experiences I've had. You know, we go through life assuming that we are basically decent and reasonable people with good intentions. But then one day you might find yourself in a situation where you have become so frustrated by the unfairness and cavalier cruelty of the world that you feel yourself cracking. You might feel dark waves of primitive rage or misery welling up from somewhere deep inside of you. Loss of control can be really scary. You may find yourself being tested to the extent where you wonder how much you can take before you snap and perhaps become someone else, some darker, crazier version of yourself.

I've been in some situations that were similar to those the guy in the book experiences, where while I was in the middle of it, I suddenly imagined that the worst, most horrible possible outcome was really going to happen. When you're young you can be trusting and reckless and put yourself into unwise situations. I used to hitchhike when I was young, like many in my generation, and sometimes ended up being in some stranger's house. Or I'd be on a trip in the desert with my girlfriend and a bunch of scary bikers would show up. I also once worked a late night shift alone where I had to deal with whoever who walked in the door and there were some very unsettling experiences with crazy people. I wanted to sort of capture that moment when you realize that maybe you shouldn't have been so open and trusting, where your "fight or flight" impulse is going to be tested, a worst case scenario situation.

imageSPURGEON: Delphine features a pretty strong six-panel grid, with most of the variation coming from extending across a single tier or cutting one panel into two. Is the kind of strong rhythm you get out of a sturdy format like that useful in building a narrative. How much do you build your comics in a structural sense and you how much do you let your intuition lead your through the pages?

SALA: It has to be a combination of the two. After I know the basic structure, I can improvise or let my intuition carry me through the writing and rewriting process. But by the time I'm drawing the final art, the story should all be in place. Nobody likes having to throw out completed pages and start again because they suddenly got a better idea. That can happen, but I try to avoid it!

SPURGEON: I read the ending a bit differently than someone I know that also read the book... do you prefer ambiguity at all in terms of how you set up a story, or moments within a story? Are your stories ever intentionally that way, or do you have a specific set of meanings in mind?

SALA: Certainly in some cases ambiguity is intentional, especially if I'm trying to depict a sense of unease. Do I mind if readers of my books interpret things differently than what I intended? No -- that's what makes art interesting. But in most cases there is a very specific intention, about all the important points anyway, and even though things may not be explicitly spelled out, all the clues are there for the reader to put together.

In Delphine, the protagonist meets a very specific fate. Perhaps I'm just overly comfortable with the language of comics and hoped others would be as well. I mean, I did intend to tease the reader, or fake them out for a moment, but that was only so the realization of the true fate might catch them off guard and seem that much crueler. The story, fanciful though it may be, is completely linear. The narrative, or what the protagonist experiences from beginning to end, is depicted in the panels with square, drawn borders. Along the way, the reader is given glimpses into the protagonist's inner world -- that is, his memories, dreams, fantasies, wishful thinking, delusions -- and those are depicted in panels with soft, cloud-like, non-ruled borders. It's really that simple. But maybe I've just read too many comic books! Perhaps it's kind of a rorschach test and some readers choose to believe in a happy ending? But no, the story is about obsessive love and where that can lead and it's not meant to be pretty. My favorite response was by a writer reviewing the final Ignatz issue when it came out who seemed concerned about me personally, because the ending was so bleak. I couldn't have asked for a better reaction than that!

*****

* Delphine, Richard Sala, Fantagraphics, 9781606995907, 128 pages, 2012, $24.99.
* Richard Sala Site
* Richard Sala Blog
* Richard Sala Tumblr

*****

* an arresting, over-sized panel from Delphine
* the cover to the new hardcover
* one of the Skeleton Key character images
* a photo of Sala's workspace pertinent to the discussion of watercolors
* an over-sized panel from Cat Burglar Black
* the lead to CBB from the Skeleton Key series
* something labeled as sequel concept art on the Comic Art Collective site
* a typically bleak page from The Hidden
* an across-the-page panel from Delphine
* from the original serial packaging of the series
* the six-panel grid
* element from the cover (below)

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Fábio Moon And Gabriel Bá In Angouleme

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Go, Look: Great Cartoons Of The World Vol. 3

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Go, Look: Liquid X

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Go, Look: David Lee Ingersoll

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If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Bologna, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In LA, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This

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Happy 59th Birthday, Jim Borgman!

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Happy 59th Birthday, Greg LaRocque!

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Happy 61st Birthday, Bryan Talbot!

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FFF Results Post #325 -- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

On Friday, CR readers were asked to :Name Five Comic Book Series You Liked That Never Went Past Five Issues." This is how they responded.

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Nurture The Devil
2. D'Arc Tangent
3. Pressed Tongue
4. Grit Bath
5. The Biologic Show

*****

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Oliver Ristau

1. March Hare There's another March Hare #1 (which is a reprint).
2. Dipperz (They say it is still running, but it is not.)
3. Spumco Comic Book A "4th" number was released at Marvel.
4. Ragman (Vol.1, Ongoing Series)
5. Star Fantasy (early German Métal Hurlant/Heavy Metal Translation with odd numbering)

*****

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Steven Stwalley

1. Nowhere by Debbie Dreschler
2. Chuck Chicken and Bruin Bear by Mike Turville
3. Runaway Comic by Mark Martin
4. Death & Candy by Max Andersson
5. Heartbreak Comics by David Boswell

*****

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Scott Cederlund

1) Big Numbers
2) Nonplayer
3) Victory (the Topps' Kirbyverse comic)
4) Sylvia Faust
5) Wally Wood's T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents (the Deluxe series)

*****

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Dirk Deppey

1. Big Numbers
2. Instant Piano
3. New Tales of Old Palomar
4. Or Else
5. Pop Life

*****

there were probably a bunch more of these but in getting my site back up my dear friends at the support place made it so none of my e-mail is coming to me, so I'll have to put those responses up when that gets fixed

*****

topic from Adam Casey; thanks, Adam

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February 23, 2013


The Comics Reporter Video Parade


Dave Cooper's Canvas-Hanging Apparatus


La Constellation Jodorowsky


Trailer For Comics Film Nego


A Documentary About Mike Constable


Jeff Smith At The 2012 National Book Festival


A Lat-Inspired Event-Type Thing From Malaysia


Kevin Stark In Tulsa


Ranan Lurie Profiled


Where He Keeps His Comics
 
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CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from February 16 to February 22, 2013:

1. John Jackson Miller estimates that comics sales may have reached 1994 levels with a $700M+ figure.

2. Dragon*Con officials respond to a call for a boycott based on the fact that Ed Kramer, facing multiple criminal charges related to improper conduct with teens, still receives a large check as a co-founder of the show and has used that money to negotiate his legal morass.

3. There was a bit more Orson Scott Card writing Superman for DC Comics fallout as a few more stores have declared they won't be carrying the product and various other bits of forward motion.

Winners Of The Week
Your Reuben Nominees

Losers Of The Week
People for whom another show, even one that sounds as good at Autoptic, is just too many shows -- because, you know, Jaime Hernandez.

Quote Of The Week
"He talked me through how weather travel along preset electromagnetic pathways around the Earth but the violent storms can alter those pathways. And how electromagnetic pulses generated by one extreme weather event happening in one place will subtly shift the magnetic compass so that similar events will occur there again and again. Which is why the East Coast has been suffering of late. He emphasized it was a vague theory and he couldn't say for sure, but it was a good start." -- A Profile Of Neal Adams

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today's cover is from the all-time series Classics Illustrated

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What Happened Here At CR The Last Few Days

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The site went kablooey the last few days, not allowing me to submit forms. That means I wasn't able to do anything new, wasn't able to change anything I'd already done (and scheduled for a future time, including placeholders) and I couldn't find anything or even click the button necessary to change the thing that needed to be changed so that it would go back to normal. If nothing else, it was a powerful metaphor for aging.

Sorry about that; we should be back on track now.

One thing this caused me to do is try out Tumblr. I'll now figure out something more permanent to do with it. Some of you suggested just re-blogging everything or even moving there, but I can't serve advertisers there in the way I need to to continue doing CR. So let me think on it.

The odd thing about the popular platforms to me is not that they all have their advantages, because they obviously do, but that people tend to lock into the platform that serves them best and start to ignore all the others. I know people on Facebook who have no use for Twitter, ditto the reverse, and some people never see anything that doesn't make it to their tumblr feed. Others haven't done a one. So how to use these places best becomes an interesting question.
 
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Go, Look: Various Dave Cockrum Heroes Teaming Up Covers

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If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Bologna, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In LA, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Philadelphia, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Gainesville, I'd Go To This

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Happy 33rd Birthday, Shawn Cheng!

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Happy 59th Birthday, Tom Peyer!

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Happy 62nd Birthday, Craig Yoe!

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Happy 44th Birthday, Rick Bradford!

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Happy 45th Birthday, Tim O'Shea!

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Happy 65th Birthday, Doug Moench!

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February 22, 2013


Go, Look: Mia Nolting

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Go, Look: Barry Windsor-Smith On Tumblr

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Go, Look: Tommi Musturi At Juxtapoz

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Go, Look: Bernard Krigstein On Tumblr

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

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By Tom Spurgeon

* Allison Flood profiles My So-Called Secret Identity.

* I probably mentioned this already in a stand-alone post, but in case I didn't: Warren Ellis and Jason Howard launched Scatterlands earlier this week.

* finally, I'm not sure where I picked up the link, so my apologies to the person that had this where I saw it, but there's an entire book of Gustave Dore caricatures available on-line here. That's very nice.

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If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Ohio, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Les Editions Depuis On Facebook

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Brian Nicholson on Change.

* finally, here's that CCA program page for an MFA in Comics. Twelve-year-old me is very pleased with that part of the future.
 
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Happy 48th Birthday, Alec Stevens!

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Happy 43rd Birthday, Andy Diggle!

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Happy 57th Birthday, Doug Allen!

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Happy 52nd Birthday, Clifford Meth!

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February 21, 2013


Go, Look: Adventures Into Terror #11

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Not Comics: As Long As There Is Internet, There Will Be Earl Otus

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Go, Look: In My Uncle's House

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Go, Look: Helsinki Con Diary From Sajmon

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The Never-Ending, Four-Color Festival: Cons, Shows, Events

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By Tom Spurgeon

* Autoptic has announced Jaime Hernandez, my favorite cartoonist and one of the best, as a special guest of their first show this summer.

* The Beat spotlights a convention planned for the Fall in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

* here's a report I completely missed about the Alex Ross exhibit at the Norman Rockwell museum. I also missed that there was an Alex Ross exhibit at the Norman Rockwell museum. I don't mean to kid about the fact that that happened, because that's a nice career milestone for Mr. Ross. Just my missing it is pitiful.

* there is now a poster/catalog for the small art show in Houston derived from the comics collection of the one-time alt-comics industry stalwart and now very talented arts writer (among other things) Robert Boyd: Boyd_front.pdf

* finally, Alan Gardner live-tweeted that Success In Comics seminar last weekend.
 
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If I Were in Baltimore, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Museum Of Mistakes

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on Tumblr, anyway
 
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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* congratulations to the critic Douglas Wolk on basically wrapping things up at his Judge Dredd-related side-project.
 
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Happy 69th Birthday, Carlos Nine!

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Happy 34th Birthday, Bryan Lee O'Malley!

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February 20, 2013


Go, Look: Black Bart

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Go, Look: Comics By Louis Goodman Ferstadt

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Go, Look: There Is A Checkpoint Around This Center!

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Go, Look: Jack Kirby Subs For Gene Colan

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this is five years old, so I'm not sure why it's in my bookmarks, but it's fun
 
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If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: A Peter Foldes Sequence

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* I think I mentioned this on the various social media platforms but maybe not on the site: Mark Waid would like to talk to you about a class on comics he's supporting. It's based out of Ball State University, and it's on that campus or near that campus that I learned all I know of the nerdly arts. I believe it's this class.

image* Chris Mautner on Abelard.

* the writer Kelly Sue DeConnick writes in very broad but I would imagine useful terms about the pitching and writing process with Marvel Comics, particularly the element of what gets dictated to a writer by editorial and what is generated by the writer. The writer generates most of it.

* Laura Sneddon talks to Neal Adams. Robin McConnell talks to Michel Rabagliati. Dan Nadel talks to Gabrielle Bell in his kitchen -- it's a very casual conversation in a way that works, I think, and I'm usually not a fan of that approach.

* here's a Johnny Ryan illustration that got bookmarked.

* where do duck comics and symphonic metal meet? Right here.

* finally, Christopher Borrelli profiled Wilfred Santiago and his forthcoming book on Michael Jordan, in an article that ran on Jordan's 50th birthday. Borrelli makes an interesting point about that book, that there simply isn't a lot of art that's been made with Jordan as its subject matter.
 
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Happy 37th Birthday, Sarah Becan!

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Happy 84th Birthday, John Dixon!

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February 19, 2013


Go, Look: Richard Sala On Tumblr

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OTBP: John Cuneo's Book In Goya's LP View Series

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Go, Look: Classic Steve Ditko

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Go, Look: Paul Pope Draws Star Wars Stuff

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Go, Look: Face It

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

* Ariel Bordeaux's The Complete Deep Girl is imminent, with promises of copies to be mailed out ahead of a March 1st release date and party. That seems to me a perfect project for boutique or micro-publishing, whatever you want to call it.

image* there's a lengthy preview of Colleen Doran's continuation of her A Distant Soil series through Image over at CBR.

* Valiant joins the ranks of publishers doing a run of cheaper books as -- I believe -- an inducement to bring in new readers. I think that kind of thing is nice, although I would imagine you need a certain kind of invested retailer to make it work.

* if you want something of a public-announcement nature that's very good news, you can go with IDW announcing a kind of survey-style EC book with various artists in their awesome Artists Edition format. That should be something. I like how this opens up that format to a few more anthology-type issues, too. Like a RAW one would be amazing. Or a Zap.

* the Steve Niles-helmed line of comics will apparently launch in May, with an Alan Moore/David Lloyd project for the Occupy Comics Anthology project probably being what you'll hear about most.

* this will be the cover art of Prophet #37, the last for that artist.

* Sam Henderson writes about plans for The Magic Whistle, including bringing in a couple of outside talents per issue with specific roles, and why he's going to stick by the standard comic-book format in this Age Of Graphic Novels. I suspect that the perceived rejection of the alternative comic book is really about saturation and a very specific hitch in that model for smaller publishers, so I hope that enough people stick by it and return to it that we could see a mini-renaissance.

* Sean Gaffney discusses recent manga license acquisitions.

* I sort of knew that Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios were doing a western at Image, but I don't know that I'd seen any art yet.

* finally, there's a preview of Maurice Sendak's My Brother's Book at The Guardian.

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If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Another Way To Breathe

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* this was the most interesting nugget of information to come out of the Success In Comics seminar that Alan Gardner attended.

image* Elliot Elam talks to Gilbert Shelton. Bill Baker talks to Warren Ellis and Gary Scott Beatty.

* Excelsior!

* speaking of Lee, check out this early X-Men Jack Kirby/Paul Reinman page, complete with Tom Brevoort pointing out where a word balloon was tried, abandoned and then whited out.

* all hail the Accidental Baby President.

* Diana Clarke on Unterzakhn.

* weirdly, all of these Periscope Studios members look like they're in a room with a bright green background, except for Steve Lieber.

* Paul Azaceta draws Conan.

* what could conceivably be argued to be the most powerful job in North American comic books is seeking applicants. I totally missed that one. It's not really the most powerful job, but you could be drunk and argue that it is and you might convince some other drunk people. It's not un-powerful.

* Roman Muradov, constrained.

* finally, here's that Dean Haspiel talk at the Library Of Congress. Haspiel was invited to speak after donating his mini-comics to their collection. I thought that was a good thing Haspiel did.
 
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Happy 53rd Birthday, Jim Lawson!

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Happy 64th Birthday, William Messner-Loebs!

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Happy 70th Birthday, Don Glut!

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Happy 56th Birthday, Gerry Shamray!

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February 18, 2013


Go, Look: Will Morris

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John Jackson Miller Estimates 2012 Sales At $700M-Plus

You should read writer and veteran number-cruncher John Jackson Miller's article on piecing together a 2012 estimate at his site rather than have me just repeat/republish the bulk of his findings here with a thank-you link. So please, please go do that. Basically, these are numbers Miller's compiled from combining the recent analysis of Bookscan graphic novel numbers discussed down-blog and his own Direct Market insights, with a couple of things left unreported that he notes. It's an estimate, but I think it's a pretty good one at noting the heaving shape of the year-just-past. And those are, overall, good numbers, as good as they have been in a cumulative sense l would guess since the post-Image boom in the mid-1990s and the whole enterprise started to careen to one side as the Distributor Wars started.

My first thought about this is that the shape of the market seems healthy enough to have an impact on advocacy on behalf of creators being paid as well as possible. All I mean by that is that I don't think it's automatic to assume that "times are tough" and avoid potential criticism on that basis alone. Time are always tough for certain segments and certain markets, but if the overall levels are positive we may need to go a bit further in figuring out just what that means. If times are too tough for certain models, that may be on the model. And that goes both ways: a market that potentially favors ways of making comics that maybe don't allow the high-profit margins that may have given folks huge paydays at one time needs to be taken into consideration as well when we talk about these issues.

My second thought is to be happy for the retailers that have done well with comics, particularly the DM stalwarts. I love comic book shops, and I think it would be an advantage for the art form and the medium to have a devoted retail channel in the years ahead.
 
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Go, Look: Mighty Star, Part Two

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Heads-Up: David Boswell And Reid Fleming's Increased On-Line Presence

Via Brad Mackay comes word that the cartoonist David Boswell has made free downloads of the Reid Fleming comics available here; he also has a bunch of stuff going up on Facebook here. Boswell was an outright favorite of mine when I was in that period of extended-falling-in-love with American independent and alternative comic books, and I still like reading a lot of those works when I stumble across them -- or seek them out. The photo section of the Facebook effort is pretty incredible.

If you've never read Boswell, the Reid Fleming-related material is a lot of fun, but I think his masterpiece remains Heartbreak Comics, one of the best stand-alone comic book efforts of its era. Every collection should have one.
 
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Go, Look: John Buscema Conan Mini-Gallery

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Go, Read: Dave Sim On Selling High Society Original Art

I found this interview with Dave Sim about selling some Cerebus original art reasonably interesting, for all of the usual reasons. A lot of the stuff about petitions and doomsday scenarios and the specific need for a Barry Windsor-Smith museum lost me. Still, that particular chunk of Cerebus meant a ton to me as a young comics reader and I still enjoy reading it every few years, so hearing the author's thoughts on the work itself and its component parts is always welcome. If I had a ton of cash Richie Rich-style sitting next to my work area I'd certainly buy a page for myself and a page for my brother.

The nice person sending me the link sent along an extra link as a way of tracking progress towards the publication of Sim's Alex Raymond book.
 
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Go, Look: David Petersen's Harry Potter Art Collection

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Go, Read: Brian Hibbs On Bookscan Numbers, 2012

Brian Hibbs has his yearly look at Bookscan numbers up over at CBR. I have not read the article myself, not yet, although I'll get to it soon and write up any observations I have and publish them here. I used to do battle with these numbers and Hibbs' reporting of same, but since then a) Hibbs has toned down some of the excesses of rhetoric, and b) the shortcomings of these numbers have become much more widely known among smart fans and readers, of which you are one. I do appreciate Brian doing this report every year, and I look forward to reading it.
 
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Go, Bookmark: Autoptic

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Dragon*Con And Ed Kramer: The Response

There are a couple of widely linked-to posts presenting another side of the story about Dragon*Con and the fact that its profits feed the personal banking account and thus legal coffers of co-founder and embattled accused child molester Ed Kramer. Here is a response from the con. Here is an impassioned post from a fan of the show. I assume that pretty soon someone will check out the legal validity of certain claims here if I can't get to it first. Basically what this argues is that this is an absolutely intractable situation and that the convention founders have done the best they can, but without an actionable way to remove Ed Kramer -- which would involve a conviction, and a resolution to current lawsuits -- they're stuck. I would also assume that most people reading this site who follow the links will be able to separate some of the hyperbole used (you must apply this standard to all things or be a super-hypocrite!) from the stronger claims (the legal mire-related ones).

The weird thing about this to me is that it really only speaks to any sort of boycott of that show if you desire to see that boycott as a punishment against Dragon*Con and its organizers for not doing enough to dissolve that sticky legal relationship. If you just look at not going to that show as a way to keep money out of the hands of Ed Kramer, all of this seems to me to actually invigorate that point. Not only do you not personally put money into Kramer's hands by forgoing the show he co-founded, if the current organizers are somehow compelled by law to keep putting on the best show possible and seeing to it that Kramer profits, everyone simply opting out of the thing may be the only solution to that particular problem until there's a legal breakthrough. That would seem to me to work, unless somehow Ed Kramer can sue individual fans and authors for not seeing to his maximized profits -- we'll probably get to that point as a society someday, but I don't think we're there yet. You do have to want Kramer not to profit more than you want the awesome things a funny-book and genre convention offers. You do have to want a resolution more than you want a brand name to retain its value.

Anyway, comics culture and fan culture more generally is kind of obsessed with finding heroes and villains and acting heroically and punishing villains and being on the right side of things and inserting one's story into someone else's in a way that it often fails to be goal-oriented. In this case, my goal would be not to support this fucked-up situation. Your goal may be different -- in fact, if a conviction is important to you here before making a decision about your support, which is a view I respect and understand, you're going to approach things differently. My goal is relatively easy for me to meet, because I had no desire to attend that show in the first place. If enough people make a similar choice, including those that attend or exhibit, will that lead to some collateral damage? Sure. But so does continuing to attend, at least for now. You put your money down -- or you don't -- and you make your choices.
 
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Go, Look: Trickster Loses Most Of His Penis

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More Random Updates On Orson Scott Card And Superman

* a few more stores declared they won't be taking the print version of the digital/print Superman comic book from DC Comics featuring writing from Orson Scott Card. The well-known science fiction writer has been criticized for this advocacy against gay marriage, which includes being on the board of a group devoted to that person and several public statements. That's a fine post for catching up on the issue more generally.

image* this Glen Weldon piece at NPR weaves a bunch of the different elements leading to the protest into a single statement. As I wrote last time, that Superman is still seen as somehow different when it comes to these issues is astonishing to me -- it's something I don't fundamentally see (I see characters as elements in stories rather than as having value away from those stories and suspect the decision to remove characters from stories for consideration in the first place is about commercialization), it's something I don't see with Superman (I don't find the elements of his character or the stories he was in much more powerful than good kids stuff), and I'm astonished that it's the biggest fans with the most exposure to him that seem to drive this belief in a sweet, rosy view of that character. That part of it is extremely fascinating to me.

* one store will be donating their profits to organizations that believe the opposite of what Mr. Card believes.

* Michael Grabowski wrote me a note I thought interesting:
"I haven't read any of the other coverage of the Card Superman issue. Retailers certainly can choose what to sell or not sell. The upfront investment they have to pay certainly makes it crucial that they choose wisely, as they risk ending up with a bunch of copies that an angry public refuses to purchase.

"What I wonder is how this situation is or isn't different from the decision stores make to purchase Dave Sim's comics. I don't recall reading Sim's views of homosexual marriage, and he's not exactly an activist, but he is definitely outspoken and controversial on gender and sexual politics and more likely than not stands closer to Card's view at least socially, if not politically. Is it a bigger deal with Card because he is much more of an active activist for his views, or because this seems to represent a corporation's tacit endorsement of those views? Granted, there may be many more stores that already routinely haven't ordered Dave Sim's comics for either/both socio-political or economic reasons but among those that still do, will fewer of them want to buy into his Alex Raymond project? Or the variant covers he's producing for IDW? He raised $60,000 last year to produce a digital version of High Society, and for awhile Kim Thompson seemed to be attempting seriously to discuss publishing that book himself while also not ruling out a complete Cerebus republication. Will these sorts of projects become toxic for others (publishers, retailers) to touch?

"More importantly, is this a warning shot to comics creators to keep their political views and activism for said views in check? Or is this a unique situation because Card comes from outside comics and neither he nor any DC exec is ever going to go to bed hungry over any sales/PR outcome from this?"
I have no idea what Dave Sim's views are on this particular issue or where they stand in relation to Card's. I mean, I literally have no idea. It could be 100 percent, it could be 0 percent. But I think the comparison is worth musing over because certainly Sim has expressed views which people could also find objectionable and troubling.

I think in this case it's more a bunch of elements coming together: this includes culturally in terms of the issues involved, culturally in terms of a developing idea where we might protest for protest's sake and to make a line-in-sand declaration that this is a bad thing, the idea discussed in the previous bullet-point about Superman being different for fans, the idea more generally that fans should get a say in how characters are approached, and -- I think, anyway -- a take on things where a boycott is particularly appropriate to an item where our primary relationship to it as an audience is as consumers. By that last I mean I think that people process Dave Sim's work as art -- an expression of a complex nature revealing of a world view in a valuable, instructive, or perhaps aesthetically satisfying way -- in addition to it being an entertainment consumable, at least more than they think a Card Superman story has a chance of being uniquely valuable art (except maybe as an outside, abstract possibility). I think Kim Thompson was pretty clear that his estimation of the artistic quality of Cerebus would weigh against some of his qualms over the views expressed within the work and/or by its creator -- at least enough for him to explore publishing it.

Similarly, I don't see the vast majority of the people protesting Card writing Superman wishing Card's work to be stricken from the earth, or any significant downgrade in his unique artistic contributions to the overall cultural landscape. In fact, I don't see anyone doing this, although there's usually someone on the Internet saying something as extreme as is possible, so it wouldn't surprise me. What I've read so far is that some folks would rather not see Orson Scott Card putting words in the mouth of Big Blue, and are willing to go on record to say they will not be buying or carrying it, and are happy to ask other people to consider the same, and in some cases wish to suggest to DC that he be removed from the gig. That very last point might be made easier for the fact that Card is a successful writer and DC is a successful company. I'm not certain.

I also think there's something to the interchangeability -- except, of course, in theory -- of something like a Superman project as opposed to a more unique creation. I would imagine it's a lot easier for a publisher to generally move towards using talent that's not controversial to make something like a Superman story happen than it is for someone to publish an artist's unique creation without that artist. It's at least a different kind of decision to make.

So I think this is a pretty unique case, and suspect the differences between it and some of the controversy surrounding Dave Sim as more important than any similarities. I could see elements of this seeping into future decision-making by companies, particularly when a bunch of these elements align as they have here and likely expressed more as a general, prescriptive, avoiding-this-kind-of-thing ingrained strategy rather than a public tussle like this one. But that's just a hunch.

* this article contains a quote from the creator Dale Lazarov that denying Card work is a step beyond simply not buying his comic or asking that others do so. I think that's an idea worth addressing. I think it speaks well of Lazarov that he's willing to engage it, as those with a more vested interest in fighting for laws against gay marriage, effectively thwarting an idea gaining hold in our cultural marketplace, may look pretty dicey complaining about a market solution that doesn't suit them.

* someone on twitter dug up this Paul O'Brien article as proof that Card's advocacy had been a subject of discussion during a previous assignment for Marvel, in case you thought the true bias at play here was DC-hating. I guess you could still think that, but you can't claim it wasn't at least brought up in some corners.
 
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Go, Look: Chris Cilla Has An Etsy Store

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Comics By Request -- People, Projects In Need Of Funding

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* the Retrofit project is going to pursue another round of comics and has a subscription drive going on in order to make it happen. I liked some of the first round, and like that someone is doing short bursts of published comics as a counter to the overwhelming market drive behind long-form comics of a certain type.

* the longtime independent and high end genre comics-focused magazine Tripwire has a crowd-funder going. I have seen Joel Meadows at every comics convention I've attend except maybe three, so if this doesn't get funded, I'll never hear the end of it.

* they've reached the just toss in more and more incentives point of the Aw Yeah crowd-funder, and good for them.

* I had about a half-dozen people e-mail me this crowd-funder, which looks to have already met its initial goal.

* I guess this is where I should put this. I got an e-mail from an established publisher today raising money for a project via Kickstarter. I don't wish anyone ill, but this kind of thing strikes me as odd. If you're not super small press, or funding something just amazingly obscure and completely unsaleable, or -- maybe -- have some sort of displayed, awesome skill at running crowd-funders, then I would lean more towards this kind of thing being an abdication of a traditional publisher's role as someone that provides capital than it is a way for someone to facilitate a project through pre-orders. At any rate, I won't be spotlighting those kind of projects here, unless they become so commonplace I can't avoid it. Crowd-funding has that zealous aspect to it that to criticize anything you see as an out-there use can be read as an attack on the entire enterprise, so I hope that writing about this in my weekly column driving attention to crowd-funding will allow me to skip some of that blowback.

image* the very fine cartoonist Salgood Sam has a fundraiser going here to enable him to publish more material. There's some prime mid-'90s mainstream comics material being offered there. And commissions. That's a very skilled artist to be offering commissions.

* another cartoonist I like, Roman Muradov, has a crowd-funder going where the goals have already been met but you get in on it if you want.

* this post about helping out the writer Peter David, who suffered a stroke late last year, is still at the top of his site so I figure it's still pertinent.

* finally, here's a direct plea that I missed, from some nice folks in the webcomics world. It's interesting to me that people wishing to help are directed towards original art purchases or something similar rather than direct donations because of financial assistance constraints.
 
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If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This

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For Some Reason I've Never Linked To The Wayward Girls Tumblr

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Maren Williams has the CBLDF's lengthy follow-up on the research that shows Fredric Wertham distortion of his own research during moments of public advocacy against comics.

image* I keep forgetting to link to this Lew Sayre Schwartz interview excerpt with Roy Crane. It's wonderful that it even exists. Dan Berry talks to Scott Campbell, Jamie Smart, Rob Davis and Charlie Adlard. John Siuntres talks to Jonathan Hickman. David Dedrick talks to Alex Robinson.

* Sean Kleefeld muses over the reach of the MTV platform for which he's writing.

* Rob Clough on Windowpane and a bunch of different comics. Grant Goggans on a bunch of different comics, all of which happen to be about the Legion Of Super-Heroes. J. Caleb Mozzocco on a bunch of different comics.

* I like this Ink Panthers picture.

* if you enjoyed the Gary Groth-related launch to the Boing Boing-hosted Tell Me Something I Don't Know, don't forget their archives. All of those chats are pretty great.

* finally, Hooded Utilitarian plans a bunch of articles using as their starting point the recent Eddie Campbell piece on EC Comics over at TCJ.
 
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Happy 50th Birthday, Mark Bode!

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Happy 83rd Birthday, Gahan Wilson!

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February 17, 2013


Let's See How Many Comics-Related Facebook Pages I Can Like Before I Get Tired And Go Back To Bed

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*****

It's been a long time since I paid systematic attention to Facebook as a source for comics-related information and community-building. I had a few accounts before a settled on my current two. There was a time when they first opened up the site to creepy adults and things-not-human where it was just about the only place you could find student cartoonists of the "get in trouble for drawing Jesus or idiotic racial stereotypes" variety.

At any rate, most of use Facebook, and maybe some of make great use of Facebook. I don't. So I thought I'd do some rudimentary link-searching just to see what I can find and what it occurs to me to find. Then I'm going back to bed. Seriously. -- Tom Spurgeon

*****

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* 100%

* 21
* 2D Cloud

* 99 Ways To Tell A Story

*****

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* AdHouse Books

* Against Pain

* Alan Moore
* Alternate Reality Comics
* Alternative Comic Books

* Amy Reeder

* Andrew Farago
* Anti-Comic Sans

* Appleseed Comic Con

* Archie Comics
* Arkham City Comics
* Art Spiegelman

* Astral Projection Comix

*****

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* Baltimore Comic-Con
* Batman

* BCGF

* Bergen Street Comics

* Big Deal Comics And Stories
* Bill Griffith

* Bleeding Cool

* Bob Fingerman
* Bodyworld
* Bone
* BOOM! Studios
* Bottomless Belly Button
* Bouletcorp
* Boxers And Saints

* BPRD

* Brian Biggs Illustration
* Bridge City Comics
* Bryan Lee O'Malley

*****

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* CAKE
* Canadian Comics Archive
* Cartoon Art Museum
* Cartoon Art Museum Bookstore
* Cartoon College -- The Movie
* Cartoon Jumbles

* CBG
* CBLDF

* Cerebus 01
* Cerebus 02
* Cerebus 03
* Cerebus 04

* Charles Vess
* Chicago Comics
* Chloe
* Chris Von Szombathy

* Cochlea & Eustachia
* Colleen Coover
* Columbus Comics Creator Coalition
* Comic Adventures In Academia
* Comic Book Creator
* Comic Book Resources
* Comic Books
* Comics
* ComicsAlliance
* Comics By David Lasky
* Comics Crux
* Comics Grinder
* Comics Lifestyle
* Comix Revolution

* Craig Yoe

*****

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* Dali Par Baudoin
* Damien Jay Comics
* Danger Country
* Daniel Clowes
* Danny Hellman
* Dan O'Neill Comics
* Dark Horse Comics
* David Lasky

* DC Comics

* Desert Island

* Domino Books
* Domy Books

* Drawn And Quarterly
* Drawn Together
* Drew Friedman

* Dustin Harbin

*****

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* Ed Brisson
* Editions Ca Et La
* Editions Ego Comme X
* Ed Piskor
* Edward Gorey

* EmiTown

* Eroyn Franklin

* Even More Old Jewish Comedians

* Excalibur Comics

*****

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* Faction Comics
* Fantagraphics
* Fantagraphics Bookstore
* Farel Dalrymple Store
* Fat With Glasses Comics

* FIBD Angouleme
* First Second Books

* Frank Frazetta
* Free Comic Book Day
* From Hell

* Funny Sunday

*****

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* Gay Genius Comics

* Gender & Sexuality For Beginners
* Genghis Con Cleveland
* Gerard Jones

* Gnartoons

* Gosh! Comics

* Grand Rapids Zine Fest
* Graphic Narratives At Melbourne University
* Greg Rucka
* Gridlords
* Grimalkin Press

*****

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* Happiness Comix

* Harvey Pekar

* Heidi MacDonald @ The Beat
* Henry & Glenn Forever

* Hic + Hoc
* Hicksville
* Hidden
* Hidden Fortress Press

* Hotwire Comics

* Hub Comics
* Hugo Tate

*****

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* Ice Haven

* IDW

* If 'n Oof

* I Like Comics

* Important Comics

* I Never Liked You
* Injury Comics
* Ink Panthers Podcast
* Inkstuds
* Intruder Comics

*****

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* Jack Kirby
* Jack Kirby Museum
* Jar Of Fools

* Jed Alexander

* Jimmy Beaulieu

* Joe Keatinge Comics And Stories
* Joe Sinnott
* John Byrne Fan Page
* John Weeks
* Josh Neufeld
* Joy And Spider Comics

* Jules Feiffer
* Juliacks

*****

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* Katsuhiro Otomo

* Kelly Sue DeConnick
* Kelly Williams

* Kim Deitch
* King-Cat Comics

* Klaus Janson

* Koren Shadmi
* Koyama Press

* kus! komikss

*****

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* Laika
* Lambiek
* Last Gasp
* Lattaland
* LA Zine Fest

* Leela Corman Illustration And Art
* Lewis And Clark

* Librairie Drawn And Quarterly
* Little Heart

* Locas
* Love And Rockets

* Lucky's

* Lynda Barry 01
* Lynda Barry 02
* Lynda Barry 03
* Lynn Varley

*****

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* MAD
* Marguerite Dabai's Daily Strip
* MariNaomi
* Mark One Comics
* Marvel Comics
* Marvel Comics: The Untold Story
* Matt Fraction

* Meltdown Comics
* Mermaid: Evolution

* Michael DeForge
* Michael Kupperman
* Mimi's Doughnuts

* Modern Unicorn
* Moebius Productions
* Moomin
* Moomin Books

* MSU Comics Forum

* Muster List

*****

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* Nancy

* NBM

* Neil Gaiman
* Newsarama

* Nicolas Grivel Agency

* Nobrow
* No Straight Lines

* Nurse Nurse

*****

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* Oddball Comics

* Oh, Brother!

* Oily Comics

* One Hundred Demons
* One Percent Press
* Oni Press

*****

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* Pander Bros Comics
* Panel Comix
* Paper Rocket Minicomics

* Perfect Example
* Periscope Studio

* Phinkwell

* PictureBox Inc.
* Pikitia Press
* Pittsburgh Indie Comics Expo
* Pittsburgh Zine Expo

* Poison The Cure
* Poopsheet Foundation
* Portland Zine Symposium

* Providence Comics Consortium

*****

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* Quimby's

*****

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* Rebus Books
* Reid Fleming
* Reverie
* Revival House

* Richard Scarry

* Robert Crumb
* Rotland Press

*****

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* Sailor Twain
* Sardine Can Press

* Scott McCloud

* Secret Acres
* Secret History Of Marvel Comics
* SelfMadeHero
* Sequential Artists Workshop
* Sequential Crush

* Shaun Tan
* Short Run

* Silly Daddy Comics

* Skyscrapers Of The Midwest

* Small Press Expo
* Smoke Signal
* Smoo Comics

* SPACE
* Sparkplug Books
* Spit And A Half

* Steve Rude
* Studio JFISH
* Studygroup12 Comics Anthology
* Study Group Comic Books

* Support Gary Friedrich

* SVA

* Syndicated Zine Reviews

*****

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* Takehiko Inoue
* Tara MacPherson

* TCAF
* TCJ

* Team Cul De Sac
* T Edward Bak

* TFAW

* The AV Club
* The Big Feminist BUT
* The Billy Ireland Comics Library & Museum
* The Carl Barks Library
* The Center For Cartoon Studies
* The ComicBook Factory
* The Comic Book Lounge & Gallery
* The Comics Of Chris Ware
* The Comics Reporter
* The Comix Claptrap
* The Complete Peanuts
* The Copacetic Comics Company
* The Dark Knight Returns
* The Dark Knight Strikes Again
* The Death-Ray
* The Dragon
* The Expositor
* The Flaming Carrot
* The Graphic Canon
* The Heavy Hand
* The Infinite Wait
* The Official Kurt Busiek Page
* Theo Ellsworth
* The Secret Headquarters

* Todd Klein
* Tom Neely Wants To Draw Popeye Comics
* Tom Scioli
* Toon Books
* Toonseum
* Top Shelf Comics

* Tragic Relief
* Treviso Comic Book Festival

*****

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* Uncivilized Books
* Undertow

* Usagi Yojimbo

*****

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* Vanessa Davis

*****

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* Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse

* Whimsical Nobody Comics
* Whirlwind Wonderland

* Wow Cool

*****

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* Yoshihiro Tatsumi

*****

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* Zack Soto
* ZAPP

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: David Lasky's The Ultimate Superman Tale

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Go, Look: Royce Icon

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Go, Look: Modern Comics #74

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Go, Look: Snakebomb

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Go, Look: Wonder Comics #11

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If I Were In Los Angeles, I'd Go To This

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Happy 43rd Birthday, Hiroaki Samura!

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FFF Results Post #324 -- Print Vs. Web

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Two Things You Like About Digital Comics, Two Things You Like ABout Print Comics, And Then Break The Tie With The One Thing That In The End Makes You Like One More Than The Other." This is how they responded.

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Tom Spurgeon

1. No Physical Storage
2. Ease Of Access
3. Beautiful Art Direction
4. Tactile Quality
5. With The Onset Of On-Line Comics, Print Comics Are Now Obsolete In A Way They Weren't Before, Which Gives Them A Doomed, Romantic Quality I Can't Resist

*****

imageBuzz Dixon

1. We're Only Begining To Explore All The New Technical Creative Possibilities
2. Nothing Will Ever Be Lost To Time Again
3. Goofy Ads
4. For Me, Every Silver Age Marvel Or Warren Magazine Is A Trip Back To Summer Camp 1966
5. Literally Anybody Can Do A Digital Comic If They Have Access To The Internet And MS Paint

*****

Danny Ceballos

1. They're (almost always) free
2. Easier to share than a printed work
3. The excitement of holding a lovingly handmade object
4. Going into a comic store
5. Printed comics look fantastic in an old time spinner rack

*****

Jones

1. It's waaay easier to try unfamiliar cartoonists for free
2. Yeah, the obvious problem of heaving bookshelves
3. The gorgeous book design that's flourished since the start of the current gn/reprint boom, especially by Jacob Covey and Peter Mendelsund
4. As a flipside to (1), it's way easier for me to compensate cartoonists for their hard work, just by buying a physical copy of their book, than it would be if I were reading online. Obviously I could do it by buying digital copies, or paypalling or whatever, but I'm lazy
5. Precisely because there's so many great digital comics out there, I prefer print. It's hard enough catching up on 100 years of comics plus keeping across new print releases; if I started really getting into digital, I'd never leave the house.

*****

imageKiel Phegley

1. No sell outs or "we don't carry it"
2. High resolution colors
3. Despite #1, the joy of hunting for specific books, sometimes for years
4. Formal innovation brought on by format limitations
5. Given my particular bugaboos about kids getting comics, I still say print comics have greater accessibility for children. Particularly low income kids. Not every fourth grader is given an iPad at Christmas, but nearly all of them can buy a volume of Naruto at the Scholastic Book Fair.

*****

Ryan Cecil Smith

1. Easy to carry around lots of volumes/graphic novels in one little device
2. If I can find it online/an app store/etc., then that means anyone can find it so I can talk to people about it, recommend it, and others can find it easily.
3. For me, usually comics are easier and cheaper (if used) to find physically.
4. I like "owning" a "thing." (perhaps I should suppress this impulse though).
5. You can see it better, you can look at spreads, you can look up close without staring at a rectangle.

*****

imageSean T. Collins

1. Outrageously lopsided barriers-to-publishing-to-potential-size-of-audience ratio
2. Continuous scrolling
3. I like owning objects
4. The experience of sitting or standing in my library, unable to resist picking a book off the shelf and reading it then and there despite having other stuff to do
5. Totally effortless near-daily exposure to new work by the post-alternative cartoonists with whom I feel the most affinity, for at least the last couple years and counting

*****

Shannon Smith

1) I love being able to login to my Comixology account from whatever digital device is nearest to me at any given time.
2) I love that Comixology does NOT give you a digital download. I don't want to download anything.
3) I can read paper comics for hours without eye fatigue but digital wears me out.
4) Over 30 plus years, my mind has programmed itself to be able to thumb through a box and pull out a comic I've not looked at in over a decade and turn to the exact panel I wanted to look at.
5) They do not yet have an app that will make a digital screen smell like 20 year old newsprint.

*****

imageJason Green

1. Instant access to pretty much anything. No car trips in the rain, no waiting for reorders, just any comic you want, whenever you want it.
2. The way digitally made art looks in its native format. I read an awful lot of Top Cow comics for research for their recent talent hunt contest via Comixology, and I was positively drooling over Stjepan Sejic's digital painting. Yowza.
3. Coming home with a big stack of comics and going through the ritual of organizing them, cataloging them, and sorting the new recruits into the "to read" box.
4. The sense of pacing that only comes from having the comic in your hand and being able to feel that you're running out of pages.
5. Having a big stack of comics on the nightstand and peeling one after another off the pile before going to sleep.

*****

Colleen Frakes

1. Portability
2. Reading a "sample" before buying without getting the stink eye.
3. Works during a power outage
4. Print us just so pretty.
5. Devices are expensive and libraries are free.

*****

imageEric Newsom

1. You took the best one already -- not having to have thirteen cardboard boxes (that I have to specially purchase for more than what I think cardboard should cost) to hold them all. And not having to store those boxes. And to not have the looks from my wife when we're organizing the house about where they go, when that closet could be used for something more important. Digital comics are no longer prized collectibles, which I always hated about paper comics.
2. The hope that a viable market for foreign comics will grow from the relative ease of releasing translated editions of niche books in a digital format.
3. Buying copies of All-Star Squadron from a quarter-bin, in which the previous owner has drawn photo-realistic nipples on every Wally Wood illustrated picture of Power Girl in the book.
4. Charlton Comics will never have a slot on Comixology.
5. DRM and proprietary formats make it hard to lend a copy of the comics I really like and want to share with others.

*****

John Platt

1. The ability to zoom in and read without putting on my damn glasses. (I'm not all that old. I swear.)
2. Storage in "the cloud" or on a six-ounce removable hard drive. (I have moved six times in the last 12 years. Comics weigh a lot.)
3. Possessions that are inexorably linked to certain times in my life. (I remember where I bought them and what was going on when I read them.)
4. The thrill of the hunt. (Rarity = fun.)
5. Resale value. (Well, theoretically.)

*****

imageAlan Doane

1. Instant gratification, no driving to the comic shop.
2. Infinite re-reads with no risk of damage; they're always "mint."
3. True sense of possession. I would never claim to have every issue of Amazing Spider-Man or every New Direction EC Comic, even though I do, digitally.
4. I'm in love with the physical and emotional responses generated in me by truly top-quality reproduction. I'll never forget how "It's A Good Life If You Don't Weaken" felt in my hands the first time I opened it.
5. Digital feels temporary, no matter how many backups I have; print feels permanent, catastrophes aside. I suppose this is closely related to #3, but feels different somehow.

*****

Stergios Botzakis

1. Instant downloading
2. Easy to try a book and just delete it should it not be to your liking
3. Seeing a whole page without having to zoom or shrink the screenview
4. The tactile/visual qualities of different types of paper
5. Digging through a back issue bin holds the potential for joy, discovery, bemusement, and disappointment

*****

imageMichael Dooley

1. My iPad Maintains a Vibrant Luminosity Under Virtually Any Lighting Condition.
2. My iPad Allows Me to Travel Virtually Anywhere in the World with Thousands of Comics (Books, Magazines, etc.).
3. Print Comics Allow for a Practically Unlimited Variety of Sizes, Shapes, Structures, etc.
4. My Love Affair with Print Comics has Lasted Sixty Years (and Counting).
5. My iPad Won't Let Me Turn My Comics Pages Upside-Down.

*****

James Langdell

1. More Ready To Read Some Of The Times I Want To Read A Comic
2. Less Likely To Misplace An Issue In An Overall Story
3. Two-Page Spreads
4. Easy To Lend
5. An Issue Of A Print Comic Is Less Vulnerable To Supported File Format And IP Ownership Changes That Could Make It Unreadable As You Continue To Be Able To Possess It Or Pass It Along Over The Decades

*****

imageOliver Ristau

1. Infinite Canvas.
2. Lightweight.
3. Synesthesia.
4. J.H. Williams III.
5. Place pad on shelf.

*****

Matt Emery

1. Affordable and easy access to archives of work.
2. Convenience of transportability.
3. The ability to share a physical book or comic.
4. The beauty of a crowded bookcase.
5. As folks' preference moves to digital and they sell off collections it's a great time to pick up paper comics REAL CHEAP.

*****

Eric Knisley

1. Carry entire collection in my bag.
2. Most comics are created digitally, so it makes sense to view them that way.
3. The feel of a brand-new comic and the feel of a well-used old favorite, and all that lies between, and all that that implies.
4. I'm much more comfortable making print comics than digital. I like the smell of ink and the feel of a real brush in my hand.
5. Plain old nostalgia makes print the winner for me.

*****

Daniel Spottswood

1. Easer and cheeper to produce.
2. Potentially anyone can see your work.
3. You can make ,at least some, money with print.
4. Print still has a greater perceived legitimacy than webcomics.
5. A print comic is more likely to be bought and read. A digital comic, if seen at all, is more likely to get a two second glance, "liked" and dismissed.

*****

Mike Rhodes

1. Can read 'em anywhere.
2. More likely to test out new series
3. Appreciate the full page much better.
4. Old comic smell. Mmmm.
5. Analog comics just read better in the bathroom.

*****

Jamie Coville

1. They look really nice on my big monitor
2. Quick to get, which leads to impulse reading
3. Easier to read a big chunk of comics at once
4. You don't need to worry about battery life or be near a plug to read them.
5. Outside of a floor, fire or theft. I know my print comics are mine to keep.

*****

Salgood Sam

1. Ease Of publishing, and in theory distribution.
2. Eye popping color and line contrast.
3. Does not need batteries or to be booted up.
4. The page turn, the double page spread, the reveal. All much more powerful in print somehow for me.
5. Ultimately i think i enjoy reading books more than screens still. Hold my attention better.*

* But I don't own an Ipad or proper light weight and responsive tablet, only tried others or read things on my hybrid HP tablet laptop. Kind of heavy and sluggish. Not sure if an Ipad would change my answer.

*****

Iestyn Pettigrew

1. Online lets anybody publish without flooding shelf space.
2. I can look at lots of free comics online on Comixology.
3. Real comics can be stacked on top of each other and ploughed through, something satisfying in its own way the English language needs a word for it.
4. Old newsprint comics and the quality of the paper have been my friends for a long time.
5. You can trade or resell old comics -- how do you hand around something bought online that's tied to a specific platform for access? Digital is for consumers and readers comics are for COLLECTORS.

*****

imageRob Salkowitz

1. No practical or sentimental need to keep old copies around
2. I can zoom in to admire the art
3. People can see what I'm reading and start conversations
4. Still enjoy owning a rare, hard-to-find issue
5. I really like the people at my local comic store and don't want to put them out of business.

*****

Matt Silvie

1. digital's lower publishing costs = more content, wider variety
2. digital's more efficient for discovering new talent
3. print's better for eye health than staring in to a monitor/phone screen
4. print enjoys better "captive audience" rate, fewer distractions
5. old newsprint smells and/or new fresh print smells = print wins! yay

*****

Michael Grabowski

1. Fingertip Zoom To Examine Panels Closely
2. Price Point
3. Paper: The Original PDF
4. Physical Product Feeds The Urge To Collect Stuff
5. Anticipation While Driving Home With A Bag Of Comics Beats That Of Waiting For Downloads To Complete

*****

William Burns

1. Lots of good stuff for free
2. No storage
3. Pleasure of ownership
4. Reading paper comics gets me away from a screen
5. More different ways to acquire print comics makes process more interesting

*****

Matt Badham

1. They are bringing people who don't have storage space back to comics (or so I have been told by several people).
2. They defy the 'collector' mentality, which I personally don't like.
3. Their potential as art/boutique objects, whose physical form can be manipulated in almost infinite ways. (Can something be almost infinite?)
4. The act of going to a comic shop to buy them mostly prompts a pleasant human interaction.
5. Print, as I can throw them across the room when exasperated by their contents.

*****

Derik A. Badman

1. My shelves are already too full
2. I can take a lot with me, so I don't need to decide what to pack on trips
3. A better and real sense of scale (especially for larger works)
4. The aesthetics of the book/pamphlet as an object
5. I can still get more comics I want to read in print than digitally

*****

I deleted a couple for format and a couple for equivocating on #5; I know it sounds stupid, but doing 320 or so of these has hammered into me the wisdom of keeping responses on point or we quickly get to a riff-fest and a lot of e-mails complaining that "XXX was allowed to answer that way" and I want to kill myself; if you take these responses as some sort of gauntlet thrown at one sort of comics or another, you're reading it wrong -- I would assume other sites would have a wildly different weight to their answers; seriously, not everything is Superman Vs. Hulk

*****

topic by Chris Duffy; thanks, Chris

*****
*****
 
posted 9:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
The Comics Reporter Video Parade


The History Of Columbus Comics


Mark Waid Talks The Future Of Comics


Video From An Aislin Book Signing


Footage From A 1990 Charles Schulz Interview


Introduction To The Cartoonist


TV Report On Best Book Winner From FIBD 2013
 
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February 16, 2013


CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from February 9 to February 15, 2013:

1. Store boycotts and petition drives mark efforts in reaction to the writer Orson Scott Card writing a Superman story for a new digital/print anthology. Card is an advocate against gay marriage.

2. The Irfan Hussein case re-opens, if only to allow for some police accountability on how badly they behaved in bringing folks to trial on the matter of the murdered cartoonist.

3. Publishers adjust to international postal rates being raised.

Winner Of The Week
Carol Tilley

Loser Of The Week
Fredric Wertham

Quote Of The Week
"Also anyone out there who feels they may have screwed me or stolen from me in the past (a very small subset, but still...) this is an excellent time to get your conscience completely cleared at a steep discount. 25 cents on the dollar. These prices will not last!" -- William Messner-Loebs

*****

today's cover is from the all-time series Classics Illustrated

*****
*****
 
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Remember Comic-Con International Tickets Go On Sale Today

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Go, Look: A Pre- And Post-Comics Code Comparison

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If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Warren, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Vancouver, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Ohio, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This

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If I Were Near Telford, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This

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posted 1:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 58th Birthday, Len Strazewski!

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Happy 46th Birthday, Tim Bradstreet!

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Happy 55th Birthday, John Totleben!

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Happy 45th Birthday, Warren Ellis!

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Happy 49th Birthday, Bill Williams!

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February 15, 2013


Go, Look: Our Ever Improving Living Room

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The Trouble With Reading Comics, Part Six Hundred And Twelve

Part of me looks at a chart like this one and thanks that's a baffling and outright intimidating number of comic books to read before embarking on a relationship with a superhero comic book serial. Another part of me remembers how much I enjoyed the feeling of a larger tapestry just out of my reach when I was a kid reading superhero comic book serials. Another part of me wishes there were charts for every comic book out there. Another part of me wants a sandwich and a nap.
 
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Go, Look: Paul Karasik In Angouleme

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

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By Tom Spurgeon

* Symbolia has launched its first issue. That's the publication featuring journalism in comics form, specifically targeted towards tablet owners.

* I totally, totally missed that the writer and budding digital-comics impresario Mark Waid participated in the Tools Of Change conference, recently concluded.

* I like reported this elsewhere already, but Boing Boing has added the Tell Me Something I Don't Know podcast, which is a really good podcast. First up: Gary Groth.

* the SPX tumblr is now accepting submissions.

* there's something of a Top Shelf sale over at comiXology. I'm not sure it's still going on by the time this rolls out, though.

* finally, I probably don't do quite enough spotlighting new launches, so here's one from earlier this week: here's one called MENU: Remember Dodge City, featuring Tom Scioli art, from which I'll put a panel below. There's also a Noah Van Sciver comic here.

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If I Were In Los Angeles, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Seventy Percent Ethanol

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the home of cartoonist and illustrator Syd Hoff has been designated a literary landmark.

image* Sean T. Collins on Prison Pit Vol. 4. Spittle on Hicksville. Ian McGillis on Susceptible. James Hunt on Secret Avengers #1.

* so here's a lengthy big-media hosted blog post on Yossarian.

* Ryan Lindsay recommends six largely-forgotten stories starring the character Daredevil. That's one of the rare lists where I don't think I've heard of any of them, except maybe the one with Joe Quesada art.

* next year's CR holiday gift guide is going to be one link: this Etsy store.

* another fine Hannah Means-Shannon event report.

* not comics: it would never happen, but Peter Dinklage could play a great Cyclops.

* did I tell you the Deconstructing Comics guys were talking about Bloom County? Because they are in this podcast. I like those guys.

* Michael Cavna profiles Kevin KAL Kallaugher. Nick Gazin talks to Gary Panter. John Rovnak talks to Mark Bodé. Kent Worcester talks to Lisa Lyons, and I have to say I'm not entirely familiar with her. Gary Groth talks to Megan Kelso back in 1999. Someone at the FCBD effort interviews Emmanuel Guibert and Marc Boutavant.

* not comics: nice Mercury cover. There was actually a lot of fun Valentine's Day stuff here and there around the comics Internet but I'm old and alone and I avoided most of it. Here's one I saw. I have to imagine that's the best one.

* not comics: I'm not sure how long I've had this in the bookmarks, but here's someone who has placed elements of Calvin & Hobbes art into photographs.

* congratulations to Wardell Brown on finishing up his black hero project.

* John Porcellino is moving.

* finally, a guide to kissing.
 
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Happy 59th Birthday, Matt Groening!

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Happy 74th Birthday, William Van Horn!

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Happy 65th Birthday, Art Spiegelman!

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Happy 48th Birthday, Jim Blanchard!

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February 14, 2013


Bundled Extra: AdHouse Announces Boulet Solo Book For Spring

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This is that very funny thing about sexual attraction and dark, tortured people that the prolific cartoonist did a while back; AdHouse says it's his first solo US book. That's a good get; I've urged a few publishers to look into publishing him. AdHouse is a good match sensibility and art-direction wise. Click through the image for details.
 
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Go, Look: Romance In A Trance

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A Letter From My Good Friend Comic-Con International

He writes:
Dear Comic-Con Member,

Comic-Con 2013 badges go on sale at 9:00 AM Pacific Time (PT) February 16, 2013. Please find below the link to access the EPIC Registration landing page for Comic-Con badge sales.

imageYou should click this link or copy-and-paste it into your browser now: [information redacted because I'm not sure if it's specific or not]

To avoid delays during the registration process, those attempting to purchase multiple badges should verify the correct spelling of the Member ID and last name of each individual they intend to purchase a badge for. This information can be found under "Show My Info" in your Member ID account.

If you are a junior, senior, or member of the military, but are not shown any discounted badge options during your online registration session, please purchase a regular adult badge anyway and contact Comic-Con via email after the sale.

If you want to stay one step ahead of the competition, we suggest that you read the very detailed Comic-Con 2013 Badge Purchase "Cheat Sheet" and watch the instructional video found under the "2013 Badge Purchase" section of our website.

Please save this email since we will not post the EPIC link on our website, Facebook, or Twitter. Our customer service hotline number will be posted on Facebook at 8:30 AM Pacific Time (PT) on February 16.

Thank you for your continued support and good luck!

Sincerely,

Attendee Registration
Comic-Con International

This email pertains to Comic-Con attendee registration only. If you do not intend on registering as an attendee for Comic-Con 2013, please disregard this message. This message is not related to exhibitor, program participant, press, volunteer, or professional registration.
Video here. FAQ here. Patron Saint Of Long-Shots here.
 
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Go, Look: Fuel Quest

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posted 3:25 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
A Few More Things On Orson Scott Card Writing Superman

* In case you haven't been following it, this is a story about a range of negative reactions and calls for boycott on the occasion of DC Comics announcing it would use the writer Orson Scott Card to anchor a Superman-related digital/print anthology aimed at I believe a more general readership, maybe, than the continuity-tight regular comic books series. Card is actively opposed to gays and lesbians being married, has publicly advocated in severe terms on that issue, and is a member of an organization that works to block legal and political gains in that direction.

* Yesterday DC Comics released a response, perhaps only to The Advocate and a Fox News radio program -- or they're the ones that initially picked it up and other people jumped on. I can't tell. I saw the Fox News radio one first, but I'll spare you the direct link there and its discouraging-for-humanity comments thread in favor of this more summary-oriented write-up at Robot 6.

image* There's nothing in that response that surprises me. The nature of this protest isn't really designed in some way that allows DC an escape hatch, nor should it be: it's a human rights line-in-sand stance, not a plot thread on an episode of a political TV show. I've imagined all along that DC makes a stab at expressing what they express here -- that the private opinions of their authors are just that, and blah blah blah -- and then perhaps quietly and quickly makes it unofficial policy to not use public political advocates, including Card, on big characters like this ever again, never giving this as a reason except in maybe a connect-the-dots way down the line in some interview. Then again, what we don't understand about how DC operates right now could fill a magic library in heaven, so who knows?

* Chris Butcher offers up a strong statement here. If you read one thing, read that one.

* I have to admit, the issue as it has developed presents in opposition to my understanding it a kind of a League Of Extraordinary Things About Comics Culture I Have A Hard Time Wrapping My Mind Around. The Fake Geek Girl thing was kind of like this, too. So some of what I might try to articulate here and over the next several days might be super-stupid or swept away in eddies of self-regard.

* That said, hopefully none of that stupidity extends to the real-world issues involved, on which I am of basically a 100 percent opposite mind to Orson Scott Card. I think that guy is so wrong about this stuff that I could actually change my mind and agree with him on a dozen things and still come to the opposite conclusion. I think his a stunted, pitiable worldview.

* Incidentally, I think it's a worldview that has something in common with comics culture, in that the tendency to look to secular institutions and wider expressions of culture to support one's core beliefs -- with attendant rage and desperate panic when they do not -- is not all that dissimilar from the way comics fans used to be hyper-sensitive about the way comics and the act of reading comics were portrayed in other media. I'm not drawing an equivalency between those concerns, mind you, quite the opposite: applying the same construction to your pursuit of aligning yourself with God's will on earth and to people making fun of you because you own an Avengers comic book is a horrible, goofy, dangerous thing.

* That was one of those eddies. Sorry.

* here's an on-line petition asking DC to drop the author. You can start to see mainstream news coverage of the story flickering to life here, here and here.

* Butcher's line about Superman having power as an icon above and beyond his role as a corporate-owned character attached to a dubious history of exploitation and issue-alignment, and that this matters, is well-taken. That is very much a blind spot for me. For me, Superman is an empty suit. One of my first Internet fiascoes was a mid-1990s declaration that no adult person actually considered Superman a role-model and being lectured by an array of adults on CompuServe that told me that they very much considered Big Blue a role-model and how dare I suggest otherwise. Live and learn. I'm still always a little confused that the ideal outweighs the uglier aspects for folks that are routinely exposed to both. This expression of that notion here, that being assigned to Superman means something more than if Card were given, say, his own entire comics line, comes from hardcore comics fans, not from like my Mom or from my friends growing up or their kids. It's sort of like if the press corps and Secret Service that dealt with JFK on a daily basis had a more hardcore idealized version of the president than Catholic households in Boston with his picture above the television had, although maybe that doesn't explain it well, and maybe those men and women did hold Kennedy in higher regard.

* It's legitimately fascinating that Superman seems to me to have been traditionally claimed by conservatives as having ideals in that direction, and here is claimed for what we tend to think of as American liberal values such as inclusiveness. In fact, the irony from the perspective of this being a headache for DC Comics is that they've sold and sold and sold this viewpoint where they are in shared custody with generations of fans of an important set of ideas and principles wearing a cape, and in this instance they have to deal with the fact that people are going to hold them to that. Good.
 
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Go, Listen: A Hannah Berry Interview

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Go, Read: A Bit Of Background On The Recent James Jean Show

imageThe super-talented illustrator and artist James Jean recently opened a big-time show in New York that was incredibly well-attended, if maybe mostly by people that couldn't afford the work on the walls. Jean may be best known to comics fans for his long-time relationships with both DC Comics (award-winning covers) and AdHouse (art books). Someone sent along this article, a fascinating look into the artist's process and some of the personal issues that have informed his ability to make that work over the last decade.

Jean's books are nearly sold out of inventory at AdHouse and the artist's web presence has apparently been scuttled, at least temporarily. Whether that's a coincidence, or an extension of matters raised in that article, or something completely different, I couldn't tell you. I do hope he finds that peaceful place to create, though, both in that I'm extremely selfish in that I like looking at his work, but also in that those are the times he may have been happiest.
 
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Go, Look: T Alixopulos Has An Etsy Store

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By Request Special: William Messner-Loebs Makes A Financial-Related Facebook Plea

imageApparently the writer and cartoonist William Messner-Loebs has made a plea via his Facebook account for support via the purchase of various comics-related items and/or the settling of past debt where some exists. It looks like there are issues with the home he shared with wife Nadine and some health issues for her. The statement, snagged for CR by Brad Mackay:
"Hey, everyone! I seem only to get on with bad news. This has been a 'Challenging' month. My wife, Nadine, will need heart surgery within the next year and some expensive treatments before that. Possibly eye surgery as well. After the carbon monoxide leak we've discovered some roof problems and serious flooring issues. And our stored furniture will probable be sold in a couple of weeks. So... this would be an excellent time for anyone who wants original artwork, pages drawn to order, Journey pages or anything else to get in touch! Also anyone out there who feels they may have screwed me or stolen from me in the past (a very small subset, but still...) this is an excellent time to get your conscience completely cleared at a steep discount. 25 cents on the dollar. These prices will not last!

And those who have Nadine's phone number, this would be a great time to call her. She's a pretty depressed girl these days. Thanks."
A similar Messner-Loebs situation that came to light I think more than a decade ago now made the rounds on what was then a message-board driven on-line comics community. As I recall, that also had a health-issues aspect, but was maybe housing related -- although there's a housing element to this one, too. While the writer has been assisted in the years since in being able to pitch to companies and some of his work has been reprinted in trade volumes, it's no surprise if you know the economics of comics that this isn't really enough to sustain a household for several years, particularly one with outside financial pressures.

I suspect we're going to see a lot of similar pleas over the next 10-15 years; what can be done about them in the broadest sense is something that should occupy the thinking of industry members and interested patrons as much as any desire to see that comics get over with a bigger audience. (And, of course, the two can be related.)

William Messner-Loebs turns 64 early next week.
 
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Go, Look: Lanugo 2

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The Never-Ending, Four-Color Festival: Cons, Shows, Events

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By Tom Spurgeon

* it might be fun to see Jeff Parker interviewed by David Brothers at ECCC. We're a little more than two weeks out from that show, which will basically kick off the North American convention season. I know there are other shows, but this one has the level of saturation/interest that makes it function a bit differently than some of the cons that take place in January and February.

* the Vancouver Sun has a sunny, pro-comics-generally preview of the big Art Spiegelman exhibit landing in town.

* San Diego's Comic-Con International has a bunch of material up and running at their devoted blog that I have to admit I haven't read yet. I have it bookmarked, though, and I'm thinking that some of you may want to join me.

* finally, here's a report from the great Carol Tyler's recent visit to LA.
 
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Go, Read: Julia And Tracy Go To Angouleme

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you pick your favorite photo and i'll pick mine
 
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Go, Look: YourDrawling.com

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* I'm actually not sure if this is a reminder or an announcement, but The Sequential Artists Workshop giving out a pair of small cash grants to cartoonists every so often is a good thing that I think should be encouraged and paid attention to as much as we can pay attention to it.

image* Bob Temuka talks about smart people in the Marvel Universe.

* I was happy to see the cartoonist Kazu Kibuishi got the gig to make new covers for the Harry Potter series on the occasion of their 15th anniversary of being published in the US. He's a fun cartoonist, and his work breaks in a very strong with past, major visual representations of that work while being able to encompass some of the same basic design choices. If I were going to own those books, I would want to own the books with those covers. Also: we're only in the early stages of prose publishers really going crazy with special editions of perennial books, and this should be a big, big thing over the next several years.

* Martyn Pedler on Beta Testing The Apocalypse. Biri on Beta Testing The Apocalypse.

* a CBR columnist on the Orson Scott Card at DC writing Superman thing. I may have more on this stuff later this morning.

* the good folks at Robot 6 pull out a profile of someone backing the Stan Lee Media lawsuits against Disney and Marvel. Hey, those suits have always made "Dormitory Hallway At 3 AM Lawyer" sense, they just haven't found a way to make it work in the real world yet.

* Didier Pasamonik talks to Mark Siegel.

* finally, here are books from Fantagraphics that co-publisher Gary Groth publicly recommended recently.
 
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Happy 46th Birthday, Roger Langridge!

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Happy 54th Birthday, Gordon Purcell!

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February 13, 2013


Bundled Extra: Study Group Comic Books Announces Print Version Of Farel Dalrymple's It Will All Hurt

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Study Group Comic Books has announced its next print project will be a collection of Farel Dalrymple's webcomic It Will All Hurt. The Dalrymple comic was one of the jewels of the Study Group web content launch. Dalrymple's a routinely interesting comic book maker whose work doesn't always find an outlet that suits his talent, so I'm happy to see another complete work to add to his print bibliography.

A couple of things that interest me here that aren't just the work. One is that the web/print model that Zack Soto and Study Group are employing is one of those things where it's about viability rather than catching some sort of cultural moment regarding new technology and making a hit of these works. I'm not sure that's an important distinction to anyone but me, or if it's even a distinction that most people would choose to make. In other words, I'm not sure this work would have the chance of existing without the exposure putting it on-line gives it. I could be super-wrong.

A second thing that has my attention with this is I want to see is if people will pre-order a work like that. I would hate for Kickstarter-style crowd-funding to become an orthodoxy, the only way by which publishers are able to mitigate the risks of doing a book. People paying for something directly, something in this case they've already seen, without involving a third party seems a different path that's worth hoping after because I want as many ways as possible to fund good work. Anyway, they haven't made a formal push, but if you're a fan of Dalrymple or this work or both, I can imagine they could really benefit by your consideration of an early order.

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Go, Look: Clea Catches A Rabbit

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Irfan Hussain Case Re-Opened For Police Accountability Purposes

I'm not sure that I all the way understand the process of what's happened here, but it looks like the murder case of India cartoonist Irfan Hussain has seen some subsequent legal action in that a judge has ordered the police department be accountable for the actions that led to a mistrial in Hussain's killing. This gets awfully weird quick, though, because it looks like the agent of that order is the cartoonist's father, who seemingly never believed the people that were the beneficiaries of that mistrial were the ones responsible.

Hussain was a Muslim cartoonist whose politically-oriented magazine cartoons led many to believe that they were at least partly the cause of his being found killed in 1999. The alternative narrative, and the one that went to trial before it was aborted, concerned an auto theft ring and Hussain's unfortunate proximity to one of their crimes.
 
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Go, Look: The Sorcerer

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Go, Read: Steve Lieber Wants To Bring Back Mentoring

Veteran comics illustrator Steve Lieber makes a case for the mentor-mentored relationship in one of his regular posts at the Comic-Con blog. I think this is a good idea; I think there's a lot of room to improve the various comics industries through old-fashioned relationships and structures that aren't necessarily tied into values of commerce. Lieber would be a great mentor, by the way, for a lot of reasons including 1) he's amusing when he's exasperated, 2) he has a bunch of stories about cartoonists most young people haven't heard of before.
 
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Go, Look: Amy Reeder's Perspectives In Storytelling

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Go, Read: AdHouse Books On International Postal Rates Hike

Chris Pitzer of AdHouse Books details his company's response to a recent semi-severe rate hike on international postal rates from the US post office. It's pretty straight-forward, and slightly resigned to the added difficulties involved. Pitzer's post also underlines something that people I spoke to wondered about from the first: there's very little in the way of a fast, hard solution that one can apply because comics come in a variety of size and shapes in this post-Ware world, which makes every case different. I think this is a big story in terms of a lot of adjustments that are going to be made, both by consumers and publishers. I'll continue to run updates here as I receive them.
 
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Go, Look: Rocky The Stone-Age Kid

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Richard Neal: Zeus Comics Won't Carry Orson Scott Card-Written Superman Comics Publications

Superior link-blogger Kevin Melrose has his usual fantastic write-up here on Dallas-area comic book shop Zeus Comics owner Richard Neal declaring his shop won't carry the Superman-related publications written by Orson Scott Card. Neal cites Card's membership on the board of the National Organization Of Marriage, his stated views regarding gays and that those beliefs are found in his other written works. Neal's store was the 2006 recipient of the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award.

One thing that should be interesting to see is if any attendant controversy about this comic actually hurts or helps sales, and, if it's perceived that the extra attention helped sales, what the further response -- if any -- might be from those that wanted to exert pressure against or at least opt out on carrying the book.

This is one of those works that will appear on-line one month and then in print the next, starting in late April.

as is always the case with the comments below an article on a big comics site, and is doubly so for articles with a political element, we recommend skipping the comments thread
 
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Go, Look: Weirdly Intense Jefferson Jones Story

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Comics By Request Special: Peter David Art Auction

Here. It's fairly self-explanatory. If you missed it, the writer Peter David suffered a stroke near the end of 2012 and his fan and peers have been raising money to help pay for the non-covered costs associated with his long rehabilitation.
 
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Go, Look: More Girl Scouts Making Mini-Comics

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tell me you don't want to read that mini-comic
 
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This Isn't A Library: Notable Releases To The Comics Direct Market

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Here are the books that make an impression on me staring at this week's no-doubt largely accurate list of books shipping from Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. to comic book and hobby shops across North America.

I might not buy all of the works listed here. I might not buy any. You never know. I'd sure look at the following, though.

*****

FEB120393 GENIUS ILLUSTRATED LIFE & ART ALEX TOTH HC VOL 02 $49.99
Hello, gorgeous. If you're interested in Alex Toth, you're old enough to get that reference. If I could leave the shop with one work this week, it'd be this second volume of the two-volume, Library of American Comics initiated Alex Toth retrospective and book-about.

imageNOV121246 INITIATES $29.99
OCT121137 LOUVRE COLLECTION HC ENCHANTMENT $19.99
Two from NBM, including the latest of their Louvre comics. They're both handsome, but I'm more interested in the Etienne Davodeau book, about the cartoonist switching jobs with a wine-maker. That was a big hit in its French-language iteration, and I love the idea of exploring vocation. Comics does that very well.

OCT120042 ADVENTURES OF SUPERHERO GIRL HC $16.99
OCT120055 CHRONICLES OF KING CONAN TP VOL 04 PRINCE IS DEAD $18.99
OCT120057 MANARA LIBRARY HC VOL 04 (MR) $59.99
Three books show off three different publishing tracks a the company: work from the Internet, a revival of the Conan company and support via re-release of older work featuring the character, and that nice-looking Milo Manara material at an advanced price. There's another track that closes out this list below.

SEP121092 COMICS JOURNAL #302 (RES) $30.00
This is what I'm reading right now, and enjoying it. There's an amazing Roy Crane section in there that's as good as you can imagine practical advice from a practical-minded comics craft master being. The Sendak is hilarious and sad. I haven't engaged the Tardi yet. Nice issue, and in many ways, TCJ is soon to be the last traditional comics magazine man standing.

NOV120556 FATALE #12 (MR) [DIG] $3.50
AUG120522 MORNING GLORIES #24 (MR) [DIG] $3.99
DEC120592 WALKING DEAD #107 (MR) [DIG] $2.99
DEC128004 WALKING DEAD THE GOVERNOR SPECIAL (MR) [DIG] $2.99
JAN130482 WALKING DEAD THE GOVERNOR SPECIAL (MR) [DIG] $2.99
JUL120748 MOUSE GUARD BLACK AXE #6 $3.50
NOV128197 ADVENTURE TIME FIONNA & CAKE #1 2ND PTG $3.99
DEC120391 POPEYE #10 [DIG/P+] $3.99
DEC120073 BPRD HELL ON EARTH #104 ABYSS TIME #2 $3.50
A bunch of pretty interesting serial comic book roll out onto the stands this week. The Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips Fatale issue is as strong as that series has offered, with a couple of stand-alone sequences (the initial run through the woods, the climax) that are as weird as any that series has published. The Morning Glories issue was the first one I've read where I had no problem telling characters apart, which isn't me clowning on that book as much as it's just a an admission that I'm not always visually sophisticated. I like how they've extended the lack of information the reader has in various, clever ways. The Walking Dead series has a new issue and a one-shot; I think the one-shot might be a pretty good one to give to a fan of the TV show that's been wondering after the comics, as it clearly breaks with the TV show a bit. The Mouse Guard series is as dependable as they come. The Adventure Time comic I thought'd just mention because I know that book has its fans, while I've been personally coming around on the IDW Popeye effort. Finally, what's one of these lists without a little Mignola-verse?

NOV121204 CHICKENHARE TP $10.99
I know nothing about Chickenhare except that the work/series/project has been around for a reasonably long time, it seems. If I were in a comics shop that carried such books, I could see it for myself. This is why comics shops are great.

NOV121298 DARWIN A GRAPHIC BIOGRAPHY GN $9.95
I'm not aware of any other graphic novel releases from Smithsonian Books, so I thought I'd mention this one here. I'm not fond of the cover gag, but I'd definitely give the work a look were I in a comics shop. I like that there are bunch of all-ages comics that are science-oriented.

DEC120895 MYLO XYLOTO #1 $3.99
NOV121203 BONE QUEST FOR SPARK HC NOVEL BOOK 03 $22.99
NOV121202 BONE QUEST FOR SPARK SC NOVEL BOOK 03 $10.99
Solid week for the extended Bone family, with a prose graphic novel hitting in dueling formats and colorist Steve Hamaker working on a primetime freelance gig: a Coldplay comic for Bongo.

AUG121321 AMERICAN COMIC BOOK CHRONICLES HC 1960-1964 $39.95
DEC121336 ART OF DEAD SPACE HC $34.95
NOV121416 BIRD KING AN ARTISTS NOTEBOOK HC $19.99
The best part of the Previews list is the part at the bottom with the books. I have my eye on that American Comic Book Chronicles book, which is one of those works with enough weird ephemera I'm afraid to ask how it's being published because I'm half-convinced it will disappear if I look at it too hard.

OCT120062 HIROAKI SAMURAS EMERALD & OTHER STORIES TP $12.99
Every week I try to pull out for inspection via these listings the book in a series of manga volumes that sounds the most interesting to me. This is a stand-alone, but it's not an artist where I've read a lot of their works so, again, were I in a comics shop I'd be spending a hardcore 5-10 minutes checking this one out. Best place on earth, a comics shop with a book about which you're curious.

*****

The full list of this week's releases, including some titles with multiple cover variations and a long, impressive list of toys and other stuff that isn't comics, can be found here. Despite this official list there's no guarantee a comic will show up in the stores as promised, or in all of the stores as opposed to just a few. Also, stores choose what they carry and don't carry so your shop may not carry a specific publication. There are a lot of comics out there.

To find your local comic book store, check this list; and for one I can personally recommend because I've shopped there, albeit a while back, try this.

The above titles are listed with their Diamond order code in the first field, which may assist you in finding comics at your shop or having them order something for you they don't have in-stock. Ordering through a direct market shop can be a frustrating experience, so if you have a direct line to something -- you know another shop has it, you know a bookstore has it -- I'd urge you to consider all of your options.

If I failed to list your comic, that's because I hate you.

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Butch

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Go, Look: Rotopol Press

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posted 11:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* I totally missed that Larry Marder's deposition from the McFarlane/Gaiman legal tussle was put on-line. If nothing else, you should go check out the t-shirt in the picture of Marder that accompanies the article, just to remind yourself what great t-shirts those Beanworld characters make.

image* Rob Clough on The Song Of Roland and Jam In The Band. John Anderson on District 14. Sean Gaffney on Wonder! Vol. 3. Brian Gardes on Hiroaki Samura's Emerald And Other Stories. Henry Chamberlain on Elvis Van Helsing. Paul O'Brien on a bunch of X-Men comics. Richard Bruton on The Way We Write. Kelly Thompson on All-New X-Men #7.

* not comics but also comics: hooray for translators.

* not comics: Zack Soto's Adventure Time storyboard test.

* Johanna Draper Carlson talks to John Wells.

* I'm a couple of days behind on this piece from DC executives about recent sales setbacks that have led to serial titles being canceled. There is a lot of talk in there about letting the marketplace decide what publishing initiatives will work. That's always true, of course, but to talk about it openly in that way indicates a certain mindset, I think.

* Ng Suat Tong responds to Eddie Campbell.

* finally, Bob Temuka asks a very basic question about comics-industry rivalries.
 
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Happy 46th Birthday, Chris Duffy!

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Happy 41st Birthday, Dan Christensen!

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February 12, 2013


Go, Look: All About I Love You

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Evidence Found That Fredric Wertham Fudged His Findings During Public Testimony And Advocacy

imageI think that's potentially fairly major. It's certainly by itself already major in terms of a cultural idea. One thing I find interesting reading a bunch of tweets and blog posts about it is how Dr. Wertham is still seen as some sort of comics-destroying bogeyman, which is his original role in comics culture and certainly one in which he was enmeshed as solidly as anyone this side of Joe McCarthy when I was a comics-reading kid. I'm not exactly super-conversant in the history of comics censorship, but it always seemed to me that Wertham didn't have the authority or the power to really destroy comics in the way that's assumed for him in cultural shorthand, although he certainly legitimized a point of view about comics that made a huge impact on the shape of the industry in the 1950s and then moving forward.

One thing that will be interesting to see, although the headlines won't be as wacky, is how some of the scholars that have a softer view of Wertham, or a view that includes some his admirable work with teens and social reform, process this new work.
 
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Go, Look: Register

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Your 9th Annual Broken Frontier Awards Winners

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The site Broken Frontier has named its annual awards winners, the ninth time the site has awarded a best-of for the previous year. Winners in bold.

BEST WRITER -- MAINSTREAM
* Brian Michael Bendis
* Geoff Johns
* Jeff Lemire
* Jonathan Hickman
* Scott Snyder

BEST WRITER -- INDEPENDENT
* Brian K. Vaughan
* Ed Brubaker
* Joe Keatinge
* Luke Pearson
* Robert Kirkman

imageBEST ARTIST -- MAINSTREAM
* Chris Bachalo
* Chris Samnee
* Gary Frank
* Greg Capullo
* Ivan Reis

BEST ARTIST -- INDEPENDENT
* Kristian Donaldson
* Matt Kindt
* Luke Pearson
* Sean Phillips
* Tonci Zonjic

BEST ONGOING SERIES
* Avengers Academy
* Batman
* Fatale
* Scalped
* The Walking Dead

BEST LIMITED SERIES
* American Vampire: Lord of Nightmares (DC/Vertigo Comics)
* Happy! (Image Comics)
* Secret Service (Marvel Comics)
* Spaceman (DC/Vertigo Comics)
* Witch Doctor: Mal Practice (Image Comics)

BEST DEBUT BOOK
* Days of the Bagnold Summer by Joff Winterhart (Jonathan Cape)
* Peepholes by Laurie J Proud (Blank Slate Books)
* The Adventures of Leeroy and Popo by Louis Roskosch (Nobrow Press)
* The Silver Darlings by Will Morris (Blank Slate Books)
* The Tale of Brin & Bent and Minno Marylebone by Ravi Thornton and Andy Hixon (Jonathan Cape)

BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL
* Blacksad: Silent Hell (Dark Horse)
* Cow Boy (Archaia)
* Dotter Of Her Father's Eyes (Jonathan Cape)
* The House that Groaned (Square Peg)
* The Nao Of Brown (SelfMadeHero)

BEST PUBLISHER
* Blank Slate Books
* Dark Horse
* Image Comics
* Nobrow Press
* Rebellion

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Go, Look: Marie Severin On Tumblr

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posted 5:25 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Michael Hartney's Letter To DC Comics

I haven't been able to track all of the fan reaction to news that Orson Scott Card would be writing the Superman character for a planned, high-profile on-line effort at DC Comics. I imagine there are some formal boycotting announcements, because the Internet is good at that. This more modest letter of protest caught me eye, I suppose for a few reasons. I liked its casual nature; I can imagine a lot more like it, and can further conceive of a way that a collection of letters like this is way more powerful than 5X the signatures on a boycott sheet. The letter also struck me as making a helpful distinction that a lot of people are forging in this particular instance: that the writer in question isn't just someone that holds opinions they don't like but a person that actively advocates for them in the public arena.

I can't imagine DC doing anything directly in response to this, although I guess that's not out of the question. No assignment is permanent anymore, and you can move away from certain creators pretty quickly without being seen as someone that capitulates to public pressure. It's hard for me to formulate an opinion on this that really means something, because I wasn't in any danger of buying Superman comics not written by Orson Scott Card. The art/commerce split intrigues me in situations like this one. I know that I can process art by even monstrous individuals as something distinct from their personal actions or beliefs, but a) most Superman comics exist in my mind as entertainment product rather than as engaging, expressive art, b) I think it's perfectly reasonable to process art as art and decline to participate in art as commerce -- a boycott is an act of a consumer rather than a critic or even a patron of the arts.
 
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Go, Look: Van Sciver Comics

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posted 5:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Something I Forgot To Write After Spain Rodriguez Died

One thing I like about the underground comix generation that I don't think gets enough play when we think about them is how they were a group of comics-makers united by a shared interest in making comics and maybe not a whole lot of other things. This makes them the model that all future arts-comics communities followed. Unlike groups of cartoonists that clustered in New York or Connecticut or California or Florida, or even the early big-paper illustration departments, the underground cartoonists couldn't boast of a shared socio-economic or regionally proximate background until they went and forged them together. It's hard to imagine two people different than, say, Robert Crumb and Spain Rodriguez before each of them got into comics, and they weren't hugely alike even after they shared a vocation, yet they were obviously and strongly respectful and appreciative of one another. I have no doubt there were dozens of instances of bad blood in those arts communities and relationships that weren't strong at all, but I think the best of those friendships and peer-to-peer relationships are worth noting. I greatly enjoyed reading the Spain Rodriguez tributes that TCJ ran, and if you haven't I hope you'll take the time to do so.

Comics friendships and agreeable professional relationships are easier than ever to forge given the Internet, the schools and the number and variety of comics shows out there. In an era of uniquely hyper-aggressive exploitation where even the middle- or lower-class living of certain traditional comics career paths have been pulverized into near-hobby status, there's a big risk of treating personal relationships within one's industry and one's arena of expression as extensions of a branding strategy that calls on strategic partnerships based on mutually advantageous praise -- a means to an end rather than as a reaction to one's fellow artists and industry members as talented creators and, most important of all, people.
 
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Go, Look: 16th Annual Reuben Awards Program

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Go, Read: Bob Levin On Al Feldstein

The writer Bob Levin has written extremely well on a variety of cartoonists and figures from various comics traditions. Some of Levin's best comics-related writing, though, is about figures from the EC tradition, as those are the comics that Levin most directly and passionately as a fan. He has written about Al Feldstein for TCJ.com, and I am going to read it with a magnificent breakfast later this morning. Bob Levin is one of my all-time favorites.
 
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Go, Listen: Four Cranky Nerds On The Year In Comics 2012

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Click through the image for access to a podcast roundtable interview conducted by Robin McConnell with myself, Bill Kartalopoulos and Joe McCulloch. I am still pretty terrible being articulate verbally about comics, which makes sense in that I'm sometimes completely obtuse and unreadable when I write about them and I've been doing that for years now. Still, I enjoy these kinds of conversations. Hopefully it's not awful. I'm always afraid that the emphasis on social media and branding right now casts all critical conversations into declarations of being on this team or that team, which is never the case in either direction.
 
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Go, Look: Doodling With The Stars

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Bundled Extra: Bryan Lee O'Malley's Seconds Delayed

The creator Bryan Lee O'Malley announced via a post on his Tumblr-based blog that his Seconds has been pushed back from 2013 and into 2014. This is his follow-up book project to the Scott Pilgrim series and thus evokes interest on a variety of levels: as simply another work from that creator that made the lauded first work, as a potential top-seller, as the next work in O'Malley's career, as a comics effort from Villard, and so on. O'Malley suffered an injury that helped delay the work. I hope he feels better, and I look forward to reading the new book when it's done. The project is described here.

One thing I think is interesting when a book gets pushed back right now is how from a fan's standpoint -- at least from this fan's standpoint -- it's not all that big of a blow considering how much freaking good work is currently published. I'm sure this is specifically crushing for a lot of folks, of course, although not in a way that should make anyone angry. Sometimes things take more time than we think they will.
 
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Go, Look: Three Little Lulu Stories

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

* here's something you don't see every day: a volume of comics featuring work by one of the late-period successors to a legacy strip -- there are exceptions, of course, but this is generally true. In this case it's a volume collecting work from the John Rose run on Snuffy Smith, which he's been doing solo for about 10-12 years.

image* this Theo Ellsworth teaser indicates a Gridlords romance anthology is due this month.

* here's a preview of a forthcoming Mitch O'Connell book. That's not exactly comics, but hey: Mitch O'Connell.

* Bart Beaty's latest volume, Comic Versus Art, will be available in Poland.

* the writer Geoff Johns is going to wrap up his long run writing the Green Lantern comic book at DC -- or, basically, the main Green Lantern comic book, whatever it is at any one time, including the GL-related event series. That's been his regular high-profile gig for a long time now. In fact, he says that it's been over 100 comic books, which I honestly would have thought short by about 100 comics. Johns' work with that character was really strong sales-wise and buzz-wise for a character that's not always easy to get over with superhero comic book fans. I liked the few that I read: they were very propulsive, in a good way. Johns will be concentrating on his Justice League-related comics. It should be interesting to see what DC does with those titles. The conventional wisdom when I talk to people is that the Green Lantern-related books have been a solid performer for the New 52 largely because of the continuity of creators represented by Johns. It's also worth noting that some industry observers wonder after DC's bench of creative talent when it comes to replacing writers on books when industry stars move on.

* Dark Horse has the number one selling book in America. Number one selling book of any kind.

* Uncivilized Books will publish Joann Sfar's Pascin. More Joann Sfar is a good thing and so is another series from Uncivilized Books.

image* Top Shelf has put out the formal announcement of its March trilogy with Rep. John Lewis, about the congressman's experiences in the Civil Rights movement. That one was first discussed openly, I think, last summer during Comic-Con. So it's nice to get a publication date on that first book (August). Andrew Aydin co-writes; Nate Powell on the art.

* Mister X returns.

* there's a lengthy post here at the Flesk Publications site about their plans, including word of a stand-alone Steve Rude book featuring Nexus art that is supposedly done a different than any art book that came before it. That's very exciting, as I would be interested in a Steve Rude Nexus-focused art book if it were designed just like all the other books that have come out in the history of forever.

* Zine World says goodbye.

* J. Caleb Mozzocco takes a long walk through one of the recently-canceled New 52 DC superhero comic book series, Savage Hawkman. It's kind of fascinating how much volatility there was in that one, random title. He also talks about the WTF promotion.

* Dark Horse is apparently putting together an adaptation of the Robert E. Howard Conan novel The Hour Of The Dragon. Tim Truman is involved.

* finally, I greatly enjoy Ted May's work and so I'm delighted that Revival House Press will give us a mini-comic full of such comics this Spring.

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Go, Look: A Sid Greene Comic Book Story

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Go, Look: Re:Surgo!

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* SLG is seeking out former SLG-aligned creators for a special benefit book.

image* Bill Baker talks to Tom Kaczynski. Wendi Freeman talks to Evan Dorkin. Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg and Jasen Lex talk to Gary Groth.

* not comics: I'm not sure I knew that there was a documentary being made about Bill Watterson, so I'm grateful Greg Kelly sent in this heads-up. Kind of like with all these superhero and genre films about which there seems to be endless pre-release discussion I'm not as interested in the existence of these films as much as I am in seeing a good one, so I can usually wait to hear about them until they come out. A good film about Watterson? That would be nice. Let's hope.

* Martin Filler on Batman: Death By Design. Johanna Draper Carlson on Horror Comics In Black and White.

* Rob Clough presents a call for anthology entries.

image* I always like it when Todd Klein digs into the history of one of the long-running mainstream comic book logos, and his latest foray up the rainbow bridge and to all logos Thor-related is a welcome addition to his series of articles. There are three parts -- 1, 2, 3 -- and at least a couple of them provide links to some outside reading.

* GK Chesterton, cartoonist.

* I think at the age of 12 I would have had 50 heart attacks if I got to see Phil Noto making Marvel superhero pin-up art every few days.

* finally, Michael Oeming enthuses over Alex Toth.
 
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Happy 43rd Birthday, Judd Winick!

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Happy 43rd Birthday, T. Edward Bak!

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I hope I have this one right
 
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Go, Look: Matt Bors Pays Tribute To Pope Benedict XVI

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February 11, 2013


Go, Read: Ahuizotl

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Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

I'm not a fan of this article about the attempted murder of those critical of elements of Islam. I'm not a fan of "hard man"-style boasting in journalism generally, and anytime a columnist or reporter uses the construction "I'm the only..." I tend to check right the hell out of any substance in what's being said, even in a case like this one where it's a game I could play, too.

Still, it remains interesting to see how the Danish Cartoons are treated in that worldview now that we're so far far removed from the original publication. There's no surprise that you lose a lot of the subtleties over time. It's also no surprise to me that western media is still getting hammered for the widespread decision shared by several journalistic entities not to run the cartoons when what they looked like was a crucial part of a developing story. As much as I think we should remain critical of the original impulse to publish those cartoons, I think the mission to educate and inform on a breaking, huge news story trumped expressed concerns of propriety and the role of a newspaper as a community institution, and most media companies failed.

There are no easy answers with this stuff, though, and never were, no matter how stridently some people make that case.
 
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Go, Look: Klaus

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A Note Or Two On The Rise In International USPS Rates

imageI've heard back from about a half-dozen people that practice some element of their comics-related business by sending books or 'zines to customers not in North America, and I'm starting to see matter-of-fact updates like this one in a couple of places. Folks seem split between grim worry and resigned reluctance over a significant increase in International shipping rates that may have a severe impact on the desire that certain comics fans have for certain comics or even a change in a bottom-line way what they can afford. John Porcellino's post here is probably the best summary statement on the matter.

It looks like there was some coverage of this right when the announcements were made on January 27 that focused on indie record labels. It makes sense that they would be similarly affected, although one mini-comics distributor expressed longing for those companies' tendency to have packages that are the same size and weight.

It could be that this move and any more to come will push certain companies towards digital even more aggressively, although I should stress that not all comics are valued for their content in a way that a digital version is the exact same thing for certain consumers. I mean, I know if I were living in Germany I'd still want those paper editions of King-Cat as opposed to being just as happy to have a digital version if one were offered. I feel that way about a lot of comics where I have that option now. This is actually a difficult point for some folks to understand, doubly so as it bumps up against a sometimes-unflattering, obsessive collector impulse that's driven comics for years and years and not always down a smooth and happy highway. Still, the specificity of an experience can be an important component of how we enjoy art: seeing theater in person rather than films of those performance, hearing chamber music live rather than on CD, seeing a movie in a big theater with a great sound system as opposed to watching it on a laptop. Some are better, some are different, some don't matter at all to certain folks, but they're a factor. And they're not rigid distinctions, either, far from it. So we'll see how this develops. Comics has a history of allowing external money matters to significantly define the art form, and hopefully this isn't one of those cases.
 
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Missed It: Don Rosa's "Why I Quit"

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Don Rosa is a fine cartoonist and has long been in many ways a great story for cartooning: a comics super-fan from the great generation that collectively revived the art form who became a lauded, respected professional cartoonist in one of the traditional avenues for excellent comic-book making in the 20th Century: the Disney duck comics. That story is now winding down, and an essay he wasn't allowed to print in a prestige collection of his work has a new life on-line. You should read it. You should read the whole darn thing.

I suppose there's something to be said about Disney not allowing that essay to be published. If nothing else, it's a telling commentary on the difficulties of working within the Disney tradition, as Rosa all too well knows, and, in that essay, demonstrates. As Rosa describes things, that decision seems more deeply unfortunate than something involving malfeasance or chicanery. I think the essay will obviously be much more widely read this way, although I'd rather that Rosa had enjoyed the platform he desired.

Mostly, though, I'm extremely grateful for Rosa's comics, and thank him for making them.
 
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Go, Look: Alt-Comix

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Go, Read: Government Officials, Twitter, Comic Books

Fabrice Stroun was nice enough to send a link along to this post, summarizing a mini-controversy about the use of Twitter by French government officials using recent statements by Culture Minister Aurelie Filiippetti on the state of the BD industry. There's a set of distinctions employed there that might be familiar to North American comics fans and professionals, although we don't talk about it the same way, or even openly, really: the differences between a segment of an industry doing well relative to other segments and an industry that may be doing well in a macro-economic sense but not rewarding its authors and industry professionals. What standard we use to measure the health of an industry is a conversation worth having, I think, on Twitter or anyplace we can have it.
 
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Go, Look: Li'l Charlie Xavier In Vigil Of The Mad

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Comics By Request -- People, Projects In Need Of Funding

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* one of the first people I met in Seattle when I started working in comics, K. Thor Jensen, has a crowd-funder going. Jensen was like eight at the time I met him, I think.

* this project by two of the best creators of mainstream-oriented kids comics is already funded and should be. Those creators have a long and distinguished history of making quality comics that a lot of people have enjoyed. I'm listing it here because I think I know a number of people that will want to order the resulting work.

* Jeremy Baum has a crowd-funder going for an anthology that features a bunch of international work. It's very modestly conceived, which I like -- the funding end, not the comics.

* not comics: Ralph Bakshi's Kickstarter continues.

* Jim Lawson's crowd-funder continues at a nice clip.

* there are still posts up on how you might assist with the recovery of the writer Peter David, who suffered a stroke at the end of 2012, here and here.
 
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Go, Read: Singapore Comics Special At FPI Blog

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Go, Look: Ralph Niese

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posted 12:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Johanna Draper Carlson is no longer a judge with the Glyph Awards.

image* Jim Rugg and Conor Stechschulte draw in ballpoint pen. Patrick Dean draws monsters. Not sure if it's widely viewable, but Lauren Weinstein draws her kid and her dog. Steve Rude draws a Jack Kirby cover. Brandon Graham draws Neuromancer fan art. Jack Kirby draws Lightray.

* Matt Madden is funny.

* not comics: super-cute Battle Royale-related poster.

* there's some wonderful-looking George McManus material here. I don't think there's any cartoonist with whom I experience a bigger gap between the pleasure I get looking at his material and the disinterest I have trying to read a bunch of it, but that's probably on me.

* Josh Kopin writes about Marvel promoting its next event comic with a video commercial. I think what's most impressive about that commercial is they get to use the Marvel placeholder that runs in front of the films. That makes you pay attention if you're a fan of those movies, or at least I guess it might. I actually believe the future of advertising media is some sort of electronically-enabled direct reaching out as opposed to mass make-you-notice stuff, but something like this can play a role in that kind of thing, too.

* I thought this was Jaime when I first saw the screen.

* Corey Blake would like to cover your digital comics news.

* congratulations to Jim Gibbons on his promotion to associate editor.

* not comics: reading Abhay Khosla walking around Las Vegas is fun, but I want to say for the record that anyone that was in their 20s in the '90s likely has some sort of extremely booze-fueled memory of Casino Royale, the closest Las Vegas of that era ever got to a hipster dive bar.

* Sean Gaffney on Alice in the Country of Joker: Circus and Liar’s Game Vol. 1. Grant Goggans on a bunch more Legion Of Super-Heroes comics. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Fluffy, Fluffy, Cinnamoroll Vol. 5. Lauren Davis on Mother Ship Blues. Matthew Brady on Groo The Wanderer #69.

* Paul Gravett really does know everybody.

* finally, Sean Kleefeld writes about Nemo and snow.
 
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Happy 43rd Birthday, Reinhard Kleist!

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Happy 45th Birthday, Mo Willems!

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Happy 38th Birthday, Drew Sheneman!

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February 10, 2013


CR Sunday Interview: Steve Hamaker

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*****

imageI had planned on interviewing the cartoonist, designer and colorist Steve Hamaker for the last holiday interview series but time got away from me. I'm intrigued by the work he did on the Scholastic version of Bone, taking Jeff Smith's black and white classic and somehow making it look like it had been intended for color all along. Readers will soon see two more major projects: work on the Coldplay comic book version of their concept album Mylo Xyloto and this year's anticipated one-volume color RASL book.

Hamaker has lived in growing comics hub Columbus, Ohio since leaving Flint, Michigan to attend college there. Now married and a father, he's there for the duration. We spoke on a recent mid-week early afternoon. -- Tom Spurgeon

*****

TOM SPURGEON: Before we get into things like RASL and I completely forget about everything else, I wanted to talk about the next project you have coming out. You worked on the Coldplay comic, Mylo Xyloto. That seems like a pretty good gig. How did that one come to you?

STEVE HAMAKER: It was just lucky meetings with the right people. The guy that's running it, Mark Osborne, is a movie director. Kung Fu Panda was his big movie recently. At some point early on with the Bone movie, Jeff and Vijaya [Iyer] had met him. He was interested in Bone and he wanted to interview for the director position for the movie. Jeff and Vijaya were trying to help Warner Brothers find a director. This was years ago, probably three years ago now. He actually came out to Columbus on his own dime, and he went out to dinner with us -- we all went out. That's where I met him. A year after that, he called me out of the blue and said, "Hey... you're a colorist." [laughs] "You want to work on this project with Coldplay?"

It was literally a random call from someone I would have tried to contact if I had known about it previously. It's not like I kept in touch with him after the initial meeting, he just liked my coloring, thankfully. We had other people in common, like Kazu Kibuishi of Amulet fame. A lot of the other Flight guys out in L.A. knew him, so it was like our artist-friend circles were intertwined.

I was the same as you... "Wait, what? What is this? It's a comic based on a rock album? Why do they want to do this...?" [Spurgeon laughs] Of course I said yes before I saw the artwork or anything. I was still full-time with Jeff Smith then. I've been on my own for almost a year now. So it kind of fell into my lap.

SPURGEON: You know, you really haven't done a lot of work outside of the work you've done with Jeff. You've done a few things, but it's not like Mylo Xyloto is one of a dozen projects you're doing. Was the project appealing to you just because Mark was working on it, or because it was the right time for you to have a gig lined up, or...?

HAMAKER: A little bit of everything. Jeff and I had talked for the last two or three years about reorganizing how I work there, and if I would go out on my own. He knows this, but I don't look at working with Jeff as a stepping stone that gets me to the next level. I was very, very happy working with him on his stuff and being his exclusive guy. I've taken great pride in that over the years. That was very important to me. I do like to work on other things. I don't tend to take projects on just to pay the bills, but luckily great jobs have come easily because of my ties with Jeff. I'm way more interested in doing things I actually care about and with people I like and have chemistry with. I feel like I'm really lucky in that I've been able to do that. I may not always be able to do that, but the last 12, 13 years that I've technically been a colorist, and I've been able to work with people I care about. Little projects with Terry Moore. Things like that. These are artists that I like as people and also really respect professionally. It's kind of like checking things off of a bucket list, working with these artists. That's really an important aspect of it.

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SPURGEON: What was artistically satisfying about this one? I saw the convention preview pages and they were very pretty. I know that color is thematically important to that story, so you have a chance to be thematically involved there.

HAMAKER: That was really big. You kind of hit the nail on the head there. I actually do like the band, and love that album. The art is done by a guy I've worked alongside before. Alex Fuentes -- one of the Flight guys I'd met in passing years ago. For me it's always been, especially with Jeff, that I take color seriously in a different way than just making it look pretty, but in a very storytelling-heavy way as well. I'm sure other colorists feel the same way, colorists like Dave Stewart. I'm sure he carries themes throughout scenes, and establishes things that weigh into the storytelling. There's also the idea that you don't want people to look at the coloring aside from the line art, otherwise you jar the reader's eyes out of the story. With this Coldplay thing it was actually a little bit of all of that. The story is about color, about the repression of color in this society that punishes its denizens if they think in color or look at color or especially if they use color. It's a very basic story about rebellion, trying to overthrow a government that's trying to boil people down to nothing and use them as energy to control other people they're trying to suppress.

SPURGEON: Tell me about the process early on with a project, when you're putting together a color... a color design, maybe, for lack of a better word. Do you play around with the colors you're going to use, do you noodle with it? Do you seize on an idea pretty quickly?

HAMAKER: Yeah. I usually take things in scenes. Jeff is very scene-heavy in the way he writes. He has setpieces with specific character staging and backgrounds for most of his scenes. I'm working on RASL right now, and there's a scene where the spooky girl, RASL, and the president are all talking in the desert. It lasts for eight pages. Those pages aren't going to change drastically from one to another, so the first page will set the tone for that whole chunk of pages. That's kind of my approach, taking the first page of a scene and saying, "Okay, how do I want this to be." You have to think about how the characters will pop against the background if that needs to happen.

The Coldplay project is so different artistically than what Jeff usually gives me, in that the Mylo pages are really, really fleshed out with gray tones and blacks. Alex does so much more detail with gray tones and his line art than Jeff does with a lot of his stuff. So it's different for me to color. In some instances it's easier, but then in others it's a different challenge. Every artist's style takes color differently. It's part of the process for me to adapt. Once I establish one color decision, it leads to the next one. You take what you've done in one scene, and that takes you on to the next scene. Obviously you don't want to completely shift the color schemes from one chapter to another. Like the skin tones of the main characters have to look consistent, or you'll throw people out of the story. "Okay, I know that the main character in the Coldplay comic has blue skin; he'll have blue skin in the whole book." Pretty basic stuff.

There are technical things that carry over. It becomes less creative until the very last stage where I'm going in and rendering things. Doing special effects with some of the color parts of the Coldplay comic; it is really special effects heavy. That's new for me. I've never done anything that bold color-wise. Mark was adamant from the very beginning, "We want you to blast that color out." It's a gray world, and suddenly these characters are shooting colors out of their fingertips. That has to really pop. That was kind of hard. There were a few pages at the beginning where they were kind of like, "No, no, it's not enough." And I'm saying, "It's like Dayglo; are you sure?" [Spurgeon laughs] They made me push it, but I like it a lot.

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SPURGEON: So you worked with a lot of feedback, particularly early on?

HAMAKER: Absolutely. It was with the first two issues that Mark and the artist Alex had ideas. The band chimed in with some stuff, too, which was helpful. Real little things. "Hey, make this more intense." "Change that skin tone a little bit so he looks less similar to the other guy."

It's the same as with Jeff. No one's ever coming in and saying, "Oh, that's completely wrong. Do it over." You just have to tweak. That happens more at the beginning of the project, including the work I do with Jeff. When we start looking at pages, his eyes are fresh. He's giving me initial impressions about the style, because it's so different from Bone. Once we have that stuff established, the rest of the book is a little bit more "autopilot." "Okay, I've done this scene. I can do this next scene and it won't be that different."

imageSPURGEON: I remember very early on when alt-comics companies started doing color, they had to be mindful of how the printers worked, and in some cases what the printer they were using was capable of doing. Do you have to have an idea of how the stuff will print these days, or can printers handle pretty much anything you throw at them now? How much is that on your mind, what the printer can do?

HAMAKER: We went through the ringer with Bone because Scholastic was printing so many books that we really did have to buckle down and get the black levels correct -- technical things to make it impossible for these printing presses to keep making them without gumming up and becoming blurry and muddy. It was crazy. "Oh, okay. You can't just send them a file. The black layers... every color adds to the black layer, four times on a page and after the 200,000th book it's complete garbage." We kind of made a mistake on the first printing of the first Bone book. It was not great. It wasn't the coloring; it was the lettering in the word balloons. Like I said, that black was getting hit four times. It didn't look that bad on the color part, because the colors were butting up against each other and blending in; your eye didn't distinguish it. But when you saw those thin letters against the white paper, it was becoming blurry, because the ink was spreading. It wouldn't matter with a print run of 10,000 books. You wouldn't even see that. But because they're doing so many books so quickly, we had to fix that.

To make a long story longer, we had to figure a way to set my files up so that the line art was on its own channel, and the lettering was just black so the last hit on the press was only the lettering. That actually helped us in the future with foreign publications because they could just swap in their own lettering layers. It helped us with other problems, too. By doing all of this stuff the colors were also turning out much closer to the original screen colors . At this point we've done so much work up front, there's never a surprise.

To finally answer your question, in the beginning, yeah, I think a lot more about it. Two things happened. I'm more prepared now to know what I can get away with, and I think technology has caught up to the point where the margin for error is such that you can fudge things a bit.

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SPURGEON: The color Bone strikes me as having been a major, major undertaking. Were you surprised at all that Jeff's artwork took to color like that? I always think of that as one of the minor miracles of recent comics history. This black and white work looked so nice when you moved it to color. Were you surprised that it took to color like that?

HAMAKER: Yes. I don't think I realized when I started that it would take color as well as it did, it happened so quickly and so naturally. For me it was good, since I was self-taught. I had no aspirations to be a colorist when I first started at Cartoon Books, 13 years ago. I was designing the Bone toys for Jeff. I wasn't even in the publishing arm of their company. That's funny if you think about it because they primarily do books. We were doing toys at the time and products like statues and calendars, so that's what I was focusing on. I've always been a comics guy. In my heart, I always wanted to do my own comics. So I think it was combination of being relieved that it was easy for me to do, but also wanting to experiment and have fun with it. The fact that it took color so well, it was serendipitous. I secretly thought: "Good, because I'm not that good." [laughter]

I wouldn't have been able to color something like Terry Moore's stuff then, because Moore's stuff takes extra effort up front. I don't mean to sound negative about his style, I love Terry, but it was a learning experience to see the differences. His lines are a lot more open and color can have a more drastic effect on his work. Jeff uses a lot of black. He's done a lot of composition work that doesn't require color in the first place, so as long as you're not using completely garish colors -- I guess that's something I can credit myself for, I feel like I do have decent color sense. My overall coloring chops weren't up to the level of stuff I'm doing now, like my rendering techniques, etc. I'm so glad I got bored that one day and tried to color a page of Bone #1. It clicked very early on, and I'm glad Jeff liked it. The natural look of the color versions was a credit to both me and to Jeff. Jeff's done the work to make it sing in black & white, so it looks amazing in color because he's done that.

We were talking the other day, and Jeff said he can look at Bone in black and white and appreciate it and he's proud of it, but he loves the color, too. But the stuff we're doing on RASL, it's kind of the opposite. It's harder for him to look at RASL in black and white. I think it's because he was approaching it differently as he was starting. The style needs color more than Bone does. Bone was hugely successful in black and white, so fans and other cartoonists were threatening me early on to "not screw it up". [laughter] It was sort of awesome to prove myself, and all of those people have since told me they love the color.

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SPURGEON: What is the exact quality in RASL where it seems to need the color more?

HAMAKER: I don't know. I think it was similar to how Bone started. Jeff had a style in mind when he started with RASL. If you look at the first couple of issues of RASL-- we've talked about this, so I'm not throwing him under the bus by saying this -- Jeff was going for a film noir look, like using sharp angled shadows behind people's heads, but then he stopped doing that as much. The second or third trade paperback, he doesn't do that kind of stuff as frequently. There are a lot more open backgrounds. It creates a different set of problems to solve with color.

If you look at the color version of issue #1 and what I'm doing now eight issues on, it's like I'm following the same path that he did -- because I have to. I'm trying to make the color fit the style page to page. If it's a really involved black and white page with shadows, my colors are going to be different -- more hard-edged than soft-edged. Right now I'm painting the hell out of some of these panels. I'm putting sunburn on their noses, getting every sweat drop. There's so much more detail. I'm not sure why, but I think he fell into a style he was comfortable with after he had been doing it a while. Similarly, the first couple issue of Bone are very Walt Kelly or Peanuts, with all the characters generally walking across the 2-D stage, with flatter layouts and not much depth. Then he got very cinematic in the latter chapters of Bone. We had the same situation with Bone when I was coloring that. I couldn't color a page from issue #1 the same way as a page from issue #50. It's a part of the challenge I really like, though. I'm not trying to color consistently for my sake, I'm trying to color consistently for the story's sake.

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SPURGEON: There's a geographical shift, too. Bone is a fantasy, but it's very much set in that midwestern combination of prairie and forest. RASL is set in the Southwest. I know Jeff took a trip to that part of the country and took some photos and even published some of them. Did you go on a trip? Did you look at the way light works down there?

HAMAKER: A year ago I was going to take a trip, and schedules didn't work out. I got busy. I got married and we had a baby, both in the same year. My life went from zero to a million. [laughs] It was hard for me to take a shower every morning, let alone go to Arizona and spend a week in the desert by myself. [Spurgeon laughs] I wish I could have gone and taken a journey into the desert for research. I know it would have helped. There's beautiful stuff there where Jeff has taken pictures -- even just watching Breaking Bad I'm like, "Look at the colors. Look at the sky." I'm doing my best though! I'm channeling as much as I can without actually spending time there. I didn't get to absorb the desert like he and Vijaya have. They have family in Arizona, so they've spent a ton of time out there.

SPURGEON: You've mentioned that you're working on your own now, and that you have a family. What is the professional outlook then? Is what's in store for you more freelance stuff like the Coldplay book? Is it your own comics like the work you had in the Flight books? What is the ideal for you moving forward?

HAMAKER: My ideal situation is pretty similar to what I'm doing now except for the terrible deadline I'm on. I'd like to be involved with whatever Jeff is doing in the future. When we get this book done we'll have to reassess and figure out how best to work together. I still stand by the idea that I'd like to continue working with Jeff as long as he wants me around. I think our stuff looks so good together. It's a collaboration that is worth continuing for my part at least.

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SPURGEON: You did some problem-solving stuff for Jeff, too. I remember seeing pages of RASL where he would leave indicators for you to move visual elements around the page. It seems like you had a pretty fluid working relationship in a lot of ways.

HAMAKER: Yeah. While he was working on the black and white... let me clarify that. It's interesting, but it's good to make sure people don't think I'm inking his pages or anything. When he worked on Bone, Jeff did what he would call "Xerox Technology." He would take a background and Xerox them off to put them behind the characters. He was repurposing drawings, but there was an art to it that he taught me. He was on terrible deadlines then, so that was something he had to do regularly. He had his own copying machine in his studio, and he would take trips to Kinko's -- whatever he had to do to get that done. When I came along, he realized that I could do a lot of that stuff on the computer with me. Especially when we started scanning the pages. He was old school, man. He used to send original pages to Canada and have them photograph the pages. "Please send them back!?!?" [Spurgeon laughs] That just doesn't happen anymore. Now we can just ftp or dropbox them.

We all realized together that we were scanning these pages anyway, to color them, so the real pages are the digital pages. Jeff realized that he could have me do the blacks. There were big areas where he didn't have time to do the painting; he would have me do that. That's where it started. Then we would do more things and it just kind of built on itself. He trusted me to have me build setpieces or do skylines using a few drawings scattered over bits of bristol board -- change them slightly. There really is an art to it, because you don't want people to know it's the same three or four drawings. Even if you look close and discover them, it doesn't hurt the story.

We had fun trying to trick people's eyes. He would do a bunch of drawings and hand them to me and say, "Put this stuff together." One good example is some of the history pages from RASL. The collage-style things, where there's a picture of JP Morgan and then a bunch of stuff next to them. I would compile that for him. He could say yes or no, and we would work together. It's sort of an unsung hero situation where I'm like, "Yeah, I helped on the book, too. I'm not just a colorist." [Spurgeon laughs] I honestly don't care. It was fun to do that stuff, and help out. Jeff is like my mentor, so it's fun to see his process, and to actually contribute in that way is a unbelievable.

imageSPURGEON: I have to imagine you're a wholly different cartoonist just for working so closely with Jeff. You got to take comics classes with Jeff Smith for years and years.

HAMAKER: Exactly. Everything I've learned there I've used in my own stuff. I've done a couple of stories for the Flight anthologies. I showed Jeff all my sketches and my story notes. He helped me with my Fish And Chips graphic novel back in 2001. He's been hugely supportive. Not just an influence on his own, but really helping me. We always sit around and talk about how to fix the Star Wars prequels and things like that -- talk about storytelling, talk about comics. He's definitely been a huge influence on me as a cartoonist and writer. It's been great for me. As far as my own stuff, and what I feel like doing. It's pretty low-key right now because I'm so busy with the family. But I do have some ideas that I want to tackle -- bigger projects I'd like to do on my own.

Like I say, I don't really view coloring or cartooning as one thing or the other to be known for. I don't think "I don't have time to color any more because I'm doing my own stuff." I don't really feel like I've ever had that attitude. I'm very happy as a colorist, and I'd be happy continuing to do that stuff for other people. At the same time, I will do my own comics and publish them however I can. I'll probably have an online comic starting up later this year. I have a huge graphic novel project that I'm trying to organize right now, and then pitch to publishers. We'll see how all that stuff pans out. It's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel right now with my current deadlines. Once I get to Comic-Con, I'll be able to clear my head. Ask me again when we see each other at Comic-Con.

SPURGEON: I remember we had an exchange where you referred to working with Jeff as the thing that allowed you to stay in Columbus. You're pretty ensconced there now. You're there for good barring a massive life change. Are you comfortable in Columbus? That's where you went to school. Is that a nice place to start this next chapter of your life?

HAMAKER: Absolutely. As soon as I moved here for college I fell in love with the city. It's a really good balance: we have a great downtown city life, but you can still see the sky and the horizon. Columbus has everything I've ever wanted. The comics scene is really strong here, so it feels right. I met my wife through Jeff and Vijaya. They're heavily involved with the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library where Jeff donated the Bone art collection, and that's where I met Jenny Robb, who's the curator now. We got married last year and now we have a baby boy. Seriously... It's been crazy. I have an amazing family and life. So, yes, I love Columbus. I would definitely recommend Columbus to anyone.

*****

* Steve Hamaker
* Mylo Xyloto at Bongo
* Cartoon Books

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* photo of Hamaker provided by Hamaker
* the Mylo Xyloto cover
* a Mylo Xyloto page provided by Hamaker
* a pre-colored and colored Mylo Xyloto page, also provided by Hamaker
* panel from a tutorial Hamaker did for Scholastic
* two example of color from the Scholastic version of Bone
* a RASL color image provided by Hamaker
* a RASL page before-and-after, again provided by Hamaker
* one of the scenes where Hamaker did some work for the black and white version of RASL; the guards were re-used
* a Flight page by Hamaker
* Hamaker's Fish N Chips characters [below]

*****

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Go, Look: Cody

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Go, Look: Kind Of A Best Of Cracked Magazine

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Go, Look: Bud Sagendorf's Axle And Cam

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Go, Look: Noelle Stevenson

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If I Were In India, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Melbourne, I'd Go To This

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Happy 43rd Birthday, Frédéric Pontarolo!

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FFF Results Post #323 -- Adaptation Nation

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Different Kinds Of Things That Aren't Books Or Movies That You'd Like To See Adapted Into Comics, And The Person Adapting Them." This is how they responded.

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Mouse Trap Game, Dan Zettwoch
2. Random All-Night Gaming Session From My House 1978-1980, Evan Dorkin
3. The K-Tel Pure Power Commercial, Ted May
4. The Venture Arcade Video Game, Joe Daly
5. Dusty In Memphis, Michael Dougan

*****

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Justin J. Major

1. Wrestlemania III, Jack Kirby
2. The Bottle Rockets' "Kerosene", Gilbert Hernandez
3. FiveThirtyEight Blog, Chris Onstead
4. People's Sexiest Man Alive (1985-2012) , Ivan Brunetti
5. My mother's childhood stories, Lynda Barry

*****

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Michael Rhodes

1. Dig-Dug old school video game, Bill Sienkiewicz
2. Hungry, Hungry Hippos board game, Mike Norton
3. Yes: Tales of Topographic Oceans concept acid rock album, Michael Wm Kaluta
4. Rent, the stage play, Jaime Hernandez
5. Progressive Insurance Commericals Featuring Flo, Amanda Conner

*****

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Douglas Wolk

1. Edith Head's Career, Trudy Cooper
2. Symbolic Logic, R. Sikoryak
3. John Coltrane's "Live at the Village Vanguard Again!," Johnny Ryan
4. Alinea Restaurant, Michael DeForge
5. Nam June Paik's Sculpture "TV Buddha," Arthur Ranson

*****

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Tuck!

1. Any of the Shadow radio serials, Steranko
2. Cameron Crowe's Rolling Stone magazine profile of Led Zeppelin (March 1975), Paul Pope
3. Neil Gaiman Journal/Twitter/Tumblr (any segment(s)), Jill Thompson
4. Steve Gerber vs Marvel lawsuit transcripts, Ralph Steadman and/or Bill Sienkiewicz
5. "Mr. A" (The Emperors of Ice Cream), Bruce Timm

*****

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Matt Badham

1. Are You Ready For Love? by Elton John, Jamie Hewlett
2. Waiting for Godot, Darryl Cunningham
3. Bayeux Tapestry, Phillipa Rice
4. Lily Tomlin's telephone switchboard monologue, Sarah McIntyre
5. Leisure (poem by William Henry Davies), Posy Simmonds

*****

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Matt Emery

1. My various and sundry encounters with murderers, drug dealers, junkies, prostitutes, gangs, and postmen, Gilbert Hernandez
2. When the Pawn (Fiona Apple), Roger Langridge
3. The European colonisation of New Zealand, Chris Slane
4. Yoshi Obayashi's experience at his Father's funeral as detailed in The Joe Rogan Experience #317, Stan Sakai
5. The History of New Zealand Comics, Tim Bollinger/Dylan Horrocks/Cornelius Stone

*****

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James Langdell

1. A Cyprians' Ball held by the Bay Area English Regency Society with music by my Divertimento Dance Orchestra, Kate Beaton
2. Napa Mumm winery tour, Eddie Campbell
3. Smetana's orchestra tone poem "The Moldau", Massimo Mattioli
4. Styx game (circa 1984) for the PC, Matt Howarth
5. Game 7 of the 2012 National League Championship Series between Giants and Cardinals, Mike Ploog

*****

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Tim Callahan

1. The 7th-Grade Theatrical Production of the Hobbit I Sat Through, by Michael Kaluta
2. Milton Bradley's Dark Tower, by Ben Marra
3. Rush "2112," by Tom Scioli
4. My Inglorious Defeat in the 1998 Northeast Regional Magic: The Gathering Tournament, by Dan Clowes
5. Harley Stroh's "Sailors on the Starless Sea," by Brendan McCarthy

*****

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Charles Brownstein

1. The Krewe de Vieux Parade, Lale Westvind
2. The Kentucky Derby, James Stokoe
3. The LA Riots, Benjamin Marra
4. Manowar's The Triumph of Steel, Becky Cloonan
5. Deliberations in the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Johnny Ryan

*****

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Marc Arsenault

1. The Comics Journal message board, Rob Liefeld
2. The last days of President Nixon in office, Josh Bayer
3. The Stanley Parable, Farel Dalrymple
4. Lupe Fiasco's 'Daydreamin', Alex Ross
5. Got To Investigate Silicone, Bill Sienkiewicz

*****

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Roman Muradov

1. Racewalking, Jonny Negron
2. "Name That Tune" 1953–1959, Jason
3. "Juggling Babies" by Barry Louis Polisar, Johnny Ryan
4. The illustration in this article from some Russian newspaper describing "the man of the future," Michael DeForge
5. A middle-aged man who spat at me as I was leaving the laundromat, Joost Swarte

*****

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Danny Ceballos

1. Burma-Shave signs on a stretch of lonely highway, Kate Beaton
2. Venus de Milo, Lisa Hanawalt
3. the QUISP cereal box art, John Porcellino
4. IKEA manuals, Chris Ware
5. Disneyland's Haunted House ride, Lynda Barry

*****



Tom Bondurant

1. Scenes From An Italian Restaurant, Bob Rozakis & Stephen DeStefano
2. The Game of Life, Bill Sienkiewicz
3. The Clarence Thomas Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Kate Beaton
4. Any DC or Marvel editorial-presentation panel from the last few years of Comic-Con, Marlo Meekins
5. Random Cialis commercial, Adam Warren

*****

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John Platt

1. Atari Pitfall!, Garth Ennis & Matt Wagner
2. My pug's antics, Cara Bean
3. The best of Weird New Jersey magazine, the Kubert brothers
4. The sad saga of Xiang Xiang the giant panda, Colleen Doran
5. Solitaire, Seth

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. The Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, Jack Kirby
2. Disneyland's It's A Small World Ride, Geoff Darrow
3. The Wonderland Murders (a.k.a. The Four-On-The-Floor Killings), Rick Geary
4. Die Valkyrie by Richard Wagner, Vaughn Bodé
5. The 2012 GOP Presidential Primary, Basil Wolverton

*****

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Dave Knott

* The Sagrada Familia, Francois Schuiten
* Bamboo frame bicycles, Rick Smith
* Mr. Cool, by Rasputin's Stash, Jim Rugg
* The annual 4x4 mud pit drag race competition on the Indian reservation near where I grew up, Derf
* The Russia-Canada "Summit Series" of 1972, Jeff Lemire

*****

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Chris Duffy

1. Salvation: The New Rock Musical (includes the song "Ballin'"), Johnny Ryan
2. Archie Goodwin memorial, Mark Chiarello
3. 1 week of Ask Beth column from the mid 80s, Vanessa Davis
4. The jukebox track listing from Tommy's Lunch in Cambridge, MA, circa 1988, Andrei Molotiu
5. Crazy game I used to play by myself with spaceships made from Legos and little rocks dressed up like the Justice Society, Jerry Ordway

*****

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Sterg Botzakis

1. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Kagan Mcleod
2. Republican National Convention, Pete Bagge
3. Dig Dug, James Stokoe
4. DragonCon, Felipe Smith
5. Jack Kirby’s life story, Dave Sim

*****

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Justin Colussy-Estes

1) GA Representative Paul Braun's 2012 re-election campaign, R Sikoryak in the style of Walt Kelly
2) Mark Sanford's trip up the Appalachian Trail, Michael Kupperman
3) A brief history of 18th & 19th century Presidential sex scandals, Kate Beaton
4) NJ Governor Jim McGreevey's political career and coming out, Fumi Yoshinaga
5) LBJ orders a pair of slacks from his Texan tailor, Ryan Pequin

*****

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Aaron White

1. Those '80s nights when my stuffed animals and I would pilot my bed (The Bedboat) into Libya and assassinate Khadafi, Frank Miller
2. Scandal Schmandal (a semi-improvised show performed only once by Torrential Downplay, a Birmingham Alabama improv troupe), Derf Backderf
3. The baked goods of the Birmingham Alabama area, Vanessa Davis
4. The surprisingly dramatic behind-the-scenes story of a production of Edward Albee's The Goat I was in, Eddie Campbell
5. Outside by David Bowie, Matthew Thurber

*****

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Sean Kleefeld

1. The 1920s' Chicago crime blotter, Jack Kirby
2. The Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquincy Hearings, Charles Burns
3. The first San Diego ComicCon, Wendy Pini
4. What was erased from the Nixon tapes, Steve Ditko
5. My resume, Jim Steranko

*****

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J.E. Cole

1. Strider Hiryu adaptation/update: Jason Pearson
2. The creation of the first firearm and its effect on human civilization up to the present day: Warren Ellis and Bill Sienkiewicz
3. A priest slowly losing her faith, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips.
4. An adaptation of the life Mary Wollstonecraft by Alan Moore/Posy Simmonds and Claire Wendling
5. The death of the golden age of American Illustration by Alex Ross, Dave Sim, Travel Foreman and Cam Kennedy

*****

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Will Pfeifer

1. The Vaselines' Song "Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam," Jack Chick
2. Weather Channel coverage of this weekend's big winter storm hitting NYC, Paul Pope
3. My daughter's imaginary adventures with her Moshi Monster toys, Basil Wolverton
4. The obits, Tony Millionaire
5. Instructions for assembling an Ikea POANG chair, Chris Ware

*****

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Craig Fischer

* Pink Flag, Killoffer
* The 1975 Stanley Cup Finals (Buffalo Sabres vs. Philadelphia Flyers), Rob Ullman
* A Hell Of A Woman, Milton Caniff
* Project Runway, Aline Kominsky-Crumb
* The City Museum in St. Louis, Josh Simmons

*****

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Evan Dorkin

1. A Selection of Jim Woodring's Dreams and Visions, Renee French
2. Rob Liefeld's Screenplay About The Formation Of Image, Eiji Nonaka
3. The 1992 WWF Royal Rumble (w/color commentary), Jaime Hernandez
4. My Horrible Evening Spent In Dave Sim's Company, Joe Sacco
5. The Beach Boys/Murray Wilson "Help Me, Rhonda" Recording Session, Michael Kupperman

*****

I was unable to sleep so looking for some mindless coding, but I nearly deleted about 1/3 of these for format; it really, really helps me when you follow that request closely, and my thanks to those that did

I'm also not sure that all of you know what adaptation means, even loosely applied

as I was unable to apply due diligence to all of these images, even though I tried to use these contextually a best as possible I'll be deleting them by at least Tuesday morning so as to make sure; all apologies

*****
*****
 
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Frank Frazetta Would Have Been 85 Years Old Today

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The Comics Reporter Video Parade


The Magic Whistle, January 2013


Trailer For A Comic Called Snapshot


Seth Tobocman On Mumia Abu-Jamal


Trailer For Forthcoming Marvel Event Series


Chloe Lucas Is An Aspiring Cartoonist


Giant Edward Koren Video
 
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February 9, 2013


CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from February 2 to February 8, 2013:

1. Bill Schanes will end a 40-year career in comics with a move from full-time work at Diamond to an advisory role.

2. New International postal rates could cause great harm to all domestic book publishers that count on mail-order business to Canada or abroad.

3. An end game for the Siegel/Shuster Families suing for a return of copyright for Superman begins to take shape.

Winner Of The Week
Four-way tie: Spain and Mort Meskin; Willem and Akira Toryiyama.

Loser Of The Week
The NRA, for their weird anti-gun list.

Quote Of The Week
"Later that night, Crackajack tries to teach the Hulk to eat with a fork but the Hulk ends up eating the fork also." -- the greatest thing I ever read

*****

today's cover is from the all-time series Classics Illustrated

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Go, Look: Namor On Tumblr

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If I Were In Ohio, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In India, I'd Go To This

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Happy 59th Birthday, Jo Duffy!

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Happy 57th Birthday, Tim Truman!

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Happy 51st Birthday, Sarah Byam!

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Happy 54th Birthday, David B.!

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February 8, 2013


Go, Look: Revamped Zack Soto Site

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Go, Read: An Interview With Kurt Westergaard

There's a very charged interview here with the Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, still living in fear of being murdered for a cartoon he did featuring the Prophet Muhammad with his turban turning into a bomb. There's a definite political thrust there that's pretty clear and not always articulated well by the cartoonist or his interviewer. I'm not sure exactly what's been lacking in terms of a response from Westergaard's point of view given the amount of protection he's received beyond just sort of wishing the world were different in a way that such insanity doesn't take place, or wishing a kind of bad fortune on those who do pursue these things. At the same time, and as much as I will always believe the provocative nature of the original stunt was deplorable and unnecessary and dangerous, that anyone is potentially murdered for the sake of an idea they expressed is awful beyond words and should never be tolerated in a free society.
 
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Go, Look: Manhunter Splash Imagery

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New Postal Rates Could Pulverize Small Press Mail Order

There's a distressing post from the great John Porcellino here that indicates a massive upswing in International mailing costs could have a significant impact on the business he does with his comics. Apparently, half of Porcellino's orders are from non-US sources. Mail order becomes much less appealing when there's a massive charge to it, and it's nearly impossible for a business to take on that burden themselves. This was rumored a few months back in various places, and looks like some version of that rate hike has gone into effect. My understanding is that this is particularly hard on lighter packages, like a mini-comic.

I'm not sure how this might have an effect on other practices within comics: everything from cross-border partnerships, to a swing in people at TCAF loading up on certain books to companies like Fantagraphics being hit are all possibilities.
 
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Go, Read: The Cyberpragmatics Of Bounding Asterisks

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suggested by Mike Catron.
 
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Go, Read: Duluth News-Tribune On Canceling Blondie

imageSo apparently the Duluth News-Tribune got tired of having their fee to run Blondie raised year after year and finally replaced it with another strip, Pearls Before Swine. I don't know why that's a story, really; that sort of makes perfect sense to me. King Features is going to try to get as much money as they can from popular strips like Blondie, and that an occasional paper pushes back means they're probably right at that tension point of maximum profitability from the venerable feature.

What usually happens when a story like this appears is there's a lot of discussion about how horrible the newspaper strips are generally, and how these legacy strips are choking the life from those pages, and how there are so many better strips out there -- or could be -- that should replace a lot of those features. I'm not sure that those arguments aren't outdated a bit right now, in that the audience for print as it currently exists seems to me a more natural-than-ever audience for Blondie. I think it's also harder than people believe to do comic strips because of the nature of the format and the super broad, small-c conservative audience they have. Back in the '90s people used to always yell at me that, for example, Garfield was horrible and that it should be replaced by Maakies. I love Maakies more than some of the people with whom I grew up, but the thought of it being in the Columbus Dispatch or whatever instead of something more general-audience amenable seems to me like saying that Wallander should be shoved as is into the NCIS time slot. It's an odd business, comic strip syndication, and maybe one with a countdown clock now, but the fact that it's difficult to conjecturally reform it even when you're allowed to counter-program with strips that don't even exist in some cases, that could be a sign that it's a business that has some inner logic to it that we don't always respect.
 
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OTBP: Extra Time #2

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NRA Lists A Bunch Of Cartoonists On Anti-Gun List

imageI thought I'd covered this already but hadn't, and now it's blown up a bit in the comics corner of the Internet: the NRA apparently listed 14 cartoonists among those celebrities and journalists that are somehow anti-gun. One weird thing is that I think at least two of them and maybe up to four really aren't doing comics anymore -- which I hope doesn't mean the list is working. Another weird thing is that Tom Toles has become Tim Toles, which says... something about cartoonists or the list-makers or both. I mean, they got Garry Trudeau right, which most young cartoonists even seem incapable of doing. Still another is that Matt Bors actually scooped the news establishment on a piece that was damaging to the NRA and couldn't make their list, which is just mean on their part.

Alan Gardner at Daily Cartoonist pulled out the names, which I'll link up in case you want to go look at their stuff:
* Tony Auth
* Steve Benson
* Jim Borgman
* Stuart Carlson
* Mike Lane
* Mike Luckovich
* Jimmy Margulies
* Jim Morin
* Mike Peters
* Kevin Siers
* Ed Stein
* Tim [sic] Toles
* Garry Trudeau
* Don Wright
Anyway, that's a pretty good list of cartoonists, many of whom work in the post-MacNelly illustration tradition of the inky arts. It's a good list even if all of them aren't working. Of course the weirdest thing of all is that you'd have an anti-gun list in the first place, which can serve no other purpose but to make those listed feel awesome about themselves, but the outsized strangeness of the gun violence debate more generally has had much odder permutations than this one.
 
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Go, Bookmark: Siskoid's Blog Of Geekery

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Collective Memory: FIBD 2013

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this article has now been archived
 
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Missed It: A Hideshi Hino And Kazuo Umezu Jam Comic

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e-mailed to me a bunch; totally missed it; that's Hino
 
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Collective Memory: Hourly Comic Day

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this article has now been archived
 
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Not Comics: MW Kaluta Draws Tolkien

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Daily Cartoonist: Cartoonist Hired; Cartoonist Fired

Here. I'm not sure that the hiring is an actual hiring or the announcement of a freelance gig. In fact, I'm not certain about the parameters on either one of those. The cartoonist picked up story might be worth watching for its local-issues focus.
 
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Go, Look: The Latest Kate Beaton Comic

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

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By Tom Spurgeon

* DC Comics is expanding a digital comics program featuring continuity-free stories to their Superman property. That's a pretty good line-up in certain respects -- it's nice to see Jeff Parker get to play with characters my Mom's actually heard of -- and a pretty controversial one in terms of their using the writer Orson Scott Card, who has been repeatedly hammered as a bigot for his views on gay people due to the fact his views on gay people are bigoted.

image* here's a really great example of what writer Mark Waid and his collaborators have been doing at Waid's Thrillbent site in terms of comics that are reader-controlled but that feature progression by layering or adding elements rather than moving to a new frame or new, total picture. You'll get what I mean when you look at it.

* Shaenon Garrity reviews a bunch of webcomics.

* I missed this Todd Allen article about digital comics getting cheaper. I imagine like most things these days that comics content available digitally will be suffered to harsh and increasing pressures to make offerings as cheap as possible, all without really cutting into the profits of those that control the bigger entities involved. Then again, maybe that's just my lack of sleep and the resulting grumpiness talking.

* finally, A Softer World celebrates its tenth anniversary.

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If I Were In Delaware, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In India, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Flan Banni

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the Zine Archive And Publishing Project in Seattle may move out from under the umbrella of the Hugo House. As great as it is that institutions that ZAPP spring into existence, a lot of them are fragile in terms of support, both financially and personally.

image* John Anderson on Jihad. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Matt Baker: The Art Of Glamour and that DC Young Romance special.

* Columbus as a comics town is profiled here.

* these pieces of Marvel superhero art are pretty adorable. One reason is that they're solid designs, those classic Marvel designs. Jack Kirby was a first-rate character designer, an all-timer, John Romita Sr. and Steve Ditko were really, really good and a few other artists that worked for them had their moments.

* Jeff Mahoney profiles Aram Alexanian.

* superior link-blogger Kevin Melrose pulls a quote from the writer Ann Nocenti that's fairly hopeful in terms of how mainstream comics characters are portrayed in terms of gender roles.

* it may seem silly to link to it again, but I greatly enjoyed Bart Beaty's summary report of FIBD 2013 for this site. I thought it was clear, strong writing, and a great summary take on a show and one man's personal experience of it. I don't publish anyone else except Bart at this point, and it's always a great pleasure to do so.

* John Porcellino draws Eric B. and Rakim.

* not comics: so I guess someone snatched up the Amazing Stories trademark and is trying to do something with it? I guess that's sort of interesting in that it's not some giant company doing it and the cynicism implied when there's a corporate element to a revival.

* finally, Jog writes about writing about comics. Jog's an excellent writer and a fine critic, but I have to admit I'm not sure what engendered this much thought about the critical process.
 
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Happy 48th Birthday, Marc Chalvin!

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February 7, 2013


Go, Look: Iowa City

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Congratulations To New Thurber House And Columbus Museum Of Art Graphic Novelist Resident Ed Piskor

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this is only the second time this residency has been offered
 
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Bart Beaty In Angouleme 2013 05: The Final Report

imageBy Bart Beaty

When all is said and done, my strongest feeling is simply that it didn't feel "special." The 40th Festival International de la Bande Dessinee in Angouleme noticeably paled in comparison to the 39th, and, indeed, to the vast majority of the 17 Angoulemes that I have now attended. There was a consensus all around that the show was flat. People would throw around adjectives like "fine," "good," and "okay." It wasn't a disaster (as were some of the shows disrupted by construction), but it also wasn't that memorable either. A work-a-day festival if ever there was one.

To start: This was Jean-C Denis's FIBD. The surprising pick for the presidency, whose work is very little known on this side of the Atlantic (I'm not sure what, if anything, has been translated), opted for a very small exhibition in the Hotel St Simon. That space, spread over two floors, accommodates only a couple dozen people at a time, and sometimes barely that. Pages of his various Luc Leroi books hung from the walls alongside portraits of the character by past presidents and other big names of French cartooning. Denis's work is classical in the best sense of the term: sophisticated and well-crafted. His originals, many of which are hand water-colored, are quite lovely to look at, but there was not much to think about in this show other than a chronological walkthrough of his career.

Two of the supporting shows were very similar to this, giving the Festival a bit of a stale feeling. Comès exhibited originals in the Theatre, a small space where his career was represented through a procession of chronologically presented black and white pages, essentially culminating with his best book, Silence. Andreas, another big name from the 1980s, was shown in the Museum. This was a well-staged show, but essentially repeated the same formula, this time with pages from Rork and Capricorne. Each of the shows was worth seeing, but was not memorable in any way.

Certainly the big public draw was the Uderzo exhibition in the "old museum." Unlike his last exhibition here (2000) the show did not emphasize originals, but took on a more pedagogical approach, breaking the Asterix series down into themes and presenting a large number of reproductions, a film of Uderzo discussing his work, and tons of background information. It was not a show for someone well versed in Uderzo's work, but there is certainly an important educational role to be played like an event like this. In some ways, I'd like to see far more of this type of show in the future.

Across the Charente in the "new museum" a side room showed pages from Baudoin's recent biographical comic, Dali. These pages, it really goes without saying, were exquisite -- far more compelling to me personally than anything in the larger shows. The main temporary exhibition space at the museum was a total misfire. Dozens of cartoonists were asked to collaborate with French painters and gallery artists to create new work. Some of these pieces were simply terrible -- failing to capture anything of the talents of either artist. Even the couple that came off best -- Avril, Baudoin -- were pale imitations of what each artist produces solo. Garish, immature, and rife with unbridled misogyny, this show was the worst I have ever seen at Angouleme.

A few other shows fared better. Brecht Evens curated a show of new Flemish cartooning that was excellent (even if they initially refused me entrance to the reception -- apparently the ComicsReporter.com badge carries little weight in Flanders!). The Jano show featured another artist best known from the 1980s, but who surprised everyone with very interesting sculptures that he is currently doing. The Mickey and Donald show, while set up for very young children, was really first rate in terms of its staging. The Korean show was highly educational for someone like me who knows very little about the cartooning culture there, so I was grateful to have taken it in.

I don't frequently go to the panels at Angouleme (there are far fewer of them than even at small shows in the US), but I did attend the OuBaPo Show on the Thursday afternoon. A packed audience watched as cartoonists like Etienne Lecroart, Matt Madden, Alex Baladi, Andreas Kundig, and Francois Ayroles used constraints, randomness, and chance to create comics live on the spot. Lewis Trondheim offered introductions, flipping through projected word balloons through which he would put words in the mouths of his compatriots. This was exactly the sort of event that a show like Angouleme should be offering all the time -- something that we don't get the opportunity to see anywhere else.

Of course, for most people, Angouleme is first and foremost a retail space, where artists sign their books and people queue for dedicaces. I thought attendance seemed down this year -- I never experienced a throng as big as anything in recent years -- but almost everyone I talked to seemed to experience solid sales. I heard from multiple publishers who sold out of books at the show, particularly when they had artists on hand who rarely (or never) come to the event.

imageAs for the prizes, well, a bit of a mixed bag. I can't object too strongly to any of the prizes (which is rare for me), though I will admit to being a little dismayed upon seeing the Fauve go to the second volume of Christophe Blain's Quai d'Orsay. Don't get me wrong -- Blain is a cartoonist's cartoonist and I will gladly snap up anything he puts out and beg for more -- but a sequel winning the big prize irked me for some reason. Maybe I'm just cranky.

And, of course, they voted. That is, a certain percentage of the authors present chose among 16 nominees for the presidency. We know, thanks to Lewis Trondheim's tweeting, that the five top vote getters were Katsuhiro Otomo, Akira Toriyama, Alan Moore, Chris Ware and Willem. The 15 past presidents who were in attendance then chose the oldest and most French of those (though Dutch by birth), Willem. (It has been widely rumored that certain of the electors absolutely refused to give the prize to a Japanese artist, and also that many of them had no idea who several of the finalists even were. There are, it seems, still a few flaws in the system).

Willem is an interesting choice. He is an almost pure product of the political events of May 1968, and he began publishing in the underground papers associated with that era. Later he began a long -- and ongoing -- career as the editorial cartoonist for the left-leaning daily newspaper, Liberation. He is a darling of the French indy comics scene (published now by Cornelius), and is a lion of the old school of French satire. His presidential exhibition will likely be scabrous and scandalous (it is easy to imagine it being closed to young children!), although it is also the least "international" choice that the jury could have made. A curious choice, to be sure.

As for me, I feel that my relationship to Angouleme has finally changed. I first attended in 1997, and over that time I've watched an entire generation of cartoonists come of age and take their place on the world stage. It has been a wonderful experience, and I am grateful to be able to spend four days every January with so many good friends talking about topics that I find of great interest. I love the fact that in the space of a few minutes in a single bar I can move from a conversation with Paul Karasik about Nancy to one with Emmanuel Guibert about the fact that his brilliant new book won't be translated into English for about five years (the horror!). But it's also cold, and it's wet, and it's so very far. I'm not quite ready to say adieu to Angouleme, but I do want to rethink the way that I approach the Festival and whether it is still worth the investment of time and effort that is required to take in the biggest beast on the European festival circuit. So I'm also not quite ready to say a la prochaine either.

*****

To learn more about Dr. Beaty, or to contact him, try here.

Those interested in buying comics talked about in Bart Beaty's articles might try here.

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Not Comics: Bob Bugg

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Go, Read: A Brief Interview With Aurélie Filippetti

The French-language comics news clearinghouse ActuaBD.com has a short interview up with Minister Of Culture And Education Aurélie Filippetti. It's no great shakes as an interview, and I'm old enough not to go, "Holy Gee Whiz, government official talking about the funnybooks." That we get in such a perfunctory piece, 1) a list of comics read and enjoyed including modern name-drops, 2) an apparent knowledge of basic issues facing that industry and 3) the idea put forward that supporting booksellers supports that art form, that does seem a little worth noting, the kind of casual and obvious seriousness that these books and that art form has in that context. I'm not sure that I think that's a comics thing here as much as a general culture thing. Our political conversations about art tend to be driven by Team Politics and celebrity politicians declaring their "one of us" fondness for Spider-Man or The Wire or whatever.
 
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Go, Look: Your Intermittent Dose Of Golden Age Madness

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Not Comics: Yan Nascimbene Gallery at Brainpickings

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Go, Look: The Wonders Of HG Peter

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I'm not usually down with linking up clearly copyrighted work, but I hope that suggesting a different context of looking at the HG Peter art will mitigate this exception
 
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The Other Never-Ending Battle: Toberoff Sues For Dismissal

ICv2.com has a brief update on the latest legal back and forth in all things Superman, the families of the Superman creators, and Warner Brother here. I need to collect my thoughts on this stuff for a summary piece or an update of some sort; I haven't done a good job of communicating that to you. For now, though, I think it's worth noting just how this stuff is moving forward in terms of filings and requests whenever we hear of them.

Jeff Trexler's always-trenchant analysis is here. He sees concession in this.
 
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Go, Look: New Chris Cilla Work At Study Group Comics

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Comics By Request Special: Hernandez Brothers Collection

James Bucky Carter from UTEP asked that I run the following message about fundraising efforts on behalf of the Hernandez Brothers Collection Of Hispanic Comics And Cartoon Art.
"You can help support The Hernandez Brothers Collection of Hispanic Comics and Cartoon Art at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), which is named after Jaime, Gilbert and Mario Hernandez and has as its mission the preservation and sharing of comics materials from or featuring Hispanics/Latino/as/Chicana/os. Jaime Hernandez allowed me to print a limited run of an 8 by 11.5 image of Maggie the Mechanic in support of the collection, which was founded with a generous donation from Fantagraphics and has already accrued nearly $1800 in donations from around the world. You can have a print of your own by making a donation. See this address for more information.

Anyone who contacts me by the end February and pays online within 24 hours of of learning how to do so will be eligible for $10 off the going price of $50 per limited-edition print. So, act now, and be sure to tell me that Spurge sent you to claim the discounted donation price!
So there's that. I like the idea of this collection, and I'm all for anything done in the name of the Hernandez Brothers, great American artists.
 
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Go, Read: Andy Brown's Report From Angouleme

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I don't usually pull out material I'm putting in Collective Memory, but I thought this was a pretty good general report if you wanted to read something from Angouleme that wasn't Bart Beaty's fine reporting, but also didn't want to sort though a bunch of stuff
 
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The Never-Ending, Four-Color Festival: Cons, Shows, Events

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By Tom Spurgeon

* Comic-Con International badges go on sale February 16. It's a sign of the times that a sale date five months in advance of the show feels really, really late. At least to me.

* this weekend is Comic-Con India. That event sounds like a blast. I know that Peggy Burns, Calista Brill and Jacq Cohen are part of the North American contingent on hand.

* it may just be me, but it seemed to me like hotel rooms are available at the SPX hotel on that weekend right now for what I paid for them with the con rate in 2012. Just saying.

* speaking of which, that quiet smile you feel someone out there flashing is the publishers and other big exhibitors securing hotel rooms for Comic-Con International a few weeks before other folks are able to secure them. I have to imagine that's a relief for a lot of those people, to get that out of the way.

* finally, put the SPX exhibitor registration date on your calendar: March 1. That is a major, major show for a lot of folks, and it's a show that's not curated.
 
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If I Were In Ohio, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Rhode Island, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Otecki

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* in case you missed it, the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum launched its Guide To Multicultural Resources yesterday.

image* John Kane discusses Gil Kane. Victor Garcia talks to Axel Alonso. Paul Gravett profiles Will Morris. Martin Wisse profiles Joost Swarte.

* Rob Clough on a bunch of works from Koyama Press. Sean Gaffney on GTO: 14 Days In Shonan Vol. 7. Henry Chamberlain looks at one of those DC Comics straight-to-video film adaptations of a classic superhero comic book. Speaking of which: yikes. Ken H. on Attack on Titan Vols. 2-3. Jon Gorga on "Deep Dark Fears."

* Jessica Drew goes to a disco.

* I don't know that I've seen any photos of the new Schulz library location. I bet other people have. I haven't really looked.

* David Brothers re-runs a two-page comic with a very specific request in mind.

* J. Caleb Mozzocco looks at the DC Comics Valentine's Day cards.

* Mark Evanier notes a moment when MAD had reached enough of a cultural saturation point that a visual reference from the magazine could run on then network-only TV.

* finally, Dean Mullaney makes the point about the size of newspaper strips then and now as dramatically as possible.
 
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Happy 60th Birthday, Richard Bruning!

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Happy 37th Birthday, Mark Haven Britt!

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Happy 84th Birthday, Alexandro Jodorowsky!

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February 6, 2013


Go, Look: The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum's Guide To Multi-Cultural Resources

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Preach It, Brother Campbell: On EC Comics And Criticism

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Jack Kirby, Gone 19 Years Today

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Bill Schanes Steps Away From DCD VP Of Purchasing Position Into Advisory Role; John Wurzer Promoted

Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. announced earlier today that foundational Direct Market figure and longtime industry fixture Bill Schanes will leave his current position as that company's Vice President of Purchasing on April 30. He will continue in an advisory role on a part-time basis through the end of 2013. John Wurzer, currently the company's Executive Director Of Purchasing, will step into the vacancy. In that role, Wurzer will run the Purchashing and Order Processing departments at the dominant comics industry distributor, one of the fulcrums for the entire Direct Market process.

Schanes co-founded Pacific Comics, one of the earliest distributors of comics and related material, in 1971. Pacific was one of the first Direct Market-oriented independent publishers, coming on board with its own line in 1981. The company went out of business in 1984, and Schanes joined Diamond in 1985. It was a very different market if only in that there were multiple distributors handling material in various regions across the country. In part because of the team that Geppi assembled at Diamond, that company became the industry's dominant -- and arguable sole -- major player a dozen years later, and the Diamond Previews catalog a symbol of the North American mainstream comics industry generally.

The Diamond press release cites vendor relations as a hallmark of Schanes' run in that key position at Diamond. Fans may recall that Schanes was the public face of a tussle between Diamond and the publisher Dave Sim over the distributor declining to carry Puma Blues after Sim moved to sell his "phonebook" collections of Cerebus material directly to fans. While this incident may have painted Schanes as anti-publisher or even anti-diversity, Chris Pitzer noted today via twitter that Schanes was instrumental in bringing his AdHouse Books into Diamond's fold an exclusive.

what once was a modest two-page order form into Diamond’s monthly PREVIEWS catalog, an incredible showcase for the comics, graphic novels, and related pop-culture products our industry has to offer. What’s more, together with John Wurzer, Bill has assembled an experienced staff of Purchasing and Order Processing professionals who are poised to build upon his efforts going forward.”

John Wurzer began at Diamond at their Dallas location in 1990, moving to Sparta as a Regional Manager before going to work in Maryland in 1999. He has held his current position since 2001.
 
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Go, Look: Boulet's FIBD 2013 24-Hour Comic

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Luisa Felix, 1952-2013

imageFrom the artist Jesse Hamm comes word that web cartoonist and mini-comics maker Luisa Felix, the creator of Candy Blondell, died on January 31. She was 60 years old. The cause of death was apparently complications caused by a recent stomach virus. Felix died in her Hoboken, New Jersey home, while sleeping.

Felix created her Candy Blondell character in 1986, basing her appearance on Jean Harlow. Blondell was a silent movie cartoon star whose rival was Betty Boop. Felix created several mini-comics starring the character and a Hollywood-centric cast, although her presence at GoComics reveals any number of pin-ups, poses and character shots. "I admired her drawings for their solidity and simple charm," Hamm told The Comics Reporter. Her artwork probably most closely resembled that of fellow New Jersey cartoonist Al Kilgore.

The artist Paul Curtis remembers his friend here. A service was held yesterday at 11 AM. Maggie Thompson was among those that signed Felix's guest book.
 
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Go, Look: Treasure Hunt

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Another Cartoonist Leaves A Newspaper Staff Position

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This time it's Dan Wasserman of the Boston Globe, as caught by a very active-these-days Alan Gardner. Apparently it's a situation that's satisfying to Wasserman, although it's distressing to see papers shedding cartoonists just generally, no matter how much of what they provide that paper that is kept on. The newspaper thing is so tough. I don't know without looking directly at the balance sheets over weeks of time what organizations are truly saddled with too many costs and which are saddled with too many costs to keep being profitable the way their owners demand they be profitable. I also can't really figure out any individual cartoonist's situation. I think we may see some weird set-ups in the next five years as people try a few things with on-line and print employment of cartoonists, but more from a heavy-freelance perspective than an outright-staffed perspective. It should be interesting, at least.

Wasserman has nearly three decades at the Globe.
 
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Go, Look: Dorpstekenaar

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Sometimes John Jackson Miller Writes Articles Just For Me

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Nearly 2000 words on 1960s comic book circulation ephemera including a lengthy investigation into the notion that Charlton simply made up some of its figures? Yes. Yes, I will have a very large portion of that, please.
 
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Go, Look: Joe Flood

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Go, Look: More Early Mike Sekowsky

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Go, Look: Ball Saved

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This Isn't A Library: Notable Releases To The Comics Direct Market

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Here are the books that make an impression on me staring at this week's no-doubt largely accurate list of books shipping from Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. to comic book and hobby shops across North America.

I might not buy all of the works listed here. I might not buy any. You never know. I'd sure look at the following, though.

*****

OCT121088 7 MILES A SECOND HC $19.99
This is the Fantagraphics reprint of one of the not-exactly-lost but sort of... I don't know, misfiled books of the last quarter-century. While a lot of people read and enjoyed that work then, it didn't quite reach that Fantagraphics audience that may have the most affection for it. At any rate, I'm looking forward to devouring that one myself, as it's always been on my radar and never in my lap.

imageNOV120570 MULTIPLE WARHEADS ALPHABET TO INFINITY #4 [DIG] $2.99
MAR120492 MUDMAN #6 [DIG] $3.50
NOV128236 HELLBOY IN HELL #2 (2ND PTG) $2.99
DEC120076 HELLBOY IN HELL #3 $2.99
DEC120938 ADVENTURE TIME FIONNA & CAKE #2 MAIN CVR [DIG] $3.99
NOV128166 HAWKEYE #1 4TH PTG AJA VAR $2.99
NOV128167 HAWKEYE #2 4TH PTG AJA VAR $2.99
NOV128181 HAWKEYE #6 2ND PTG AJA VAR $2.99
This is a snapshot of this week's serial comics offerings. The Brandon Graham is the must-buy here; it's hard not to enjoy what he's doing with the serial comic form, kind of a one-man revival of everything idiosyncratic and junky and fun about indy-comics from 1982 to 1992. The Paul Grist series returns after an absence, I think. The Hellboy and Adventure Time franchises are probably 1a and 1b in terms of successful franchised books that people I know read. I would make a trip to a comics shop just to buy the Mignola, if the nearest shop were 45 minutes or less away. I don't know what kind of numbers make for a hit superhero comic book these days, but that so many issues of the Hawkeye series are going back to print, multiple times even, says that shops are really selling the crap out of it.

OCT120058 BROTHERS OF THE SPEAR ARCHIVES HC VOL 02 $49.99
SEP120677 X-FORCE OMNIBUS HC VOL 01 $99.99
I love that we live in a world where giant collections come out that have devoted fans that I don't really all the way understand. I have a few Brothers Of The Spear comic books, and they weren't particularly hard to find -- I guess this is for those that not only like that series but like the presentation one gets in a fancy trade over the original comics. The X-Force book is I'm guessing a reprint of a recently-lauded run that tended to slip in at the end of the best-of lists kept by some critics that still cover the mainstream part of comics.

NOV120301 NEW DEADWARDIANS TP (MR) $14.99
I guess it's worth noting when a Vertigo series spawns a trade; this is a police drama set in a post-Victorian era where many in the upper classes are vampire and many in the lower zombies.

OCT120432 DAVE STEVENS ROCKETEER ARTIST ED NEW PTG PI
These books are generally attractive and this one, which like others in the series sold out of its initial printing, is particularly good-looking. This continues IDW's relationship with the Stevens estate, and I think they've done a nice job by them.

NOV121364 SLAM DUNK GN VOL 26 $9.99
This seminal sport series, now rounding into its final few volumes, strikes me as the best of the various, mainstream audience-friendly manga series offerings out this week.

NOV121142 AYA LOVE IN YOP CITY GN (MR) $24.95
NOV121143 BIG QUESTIONS SGN HC (2ND PTG) (MR) $69.95
DEC121063 DAYBREAK GN (MR) $16.95
Finally, a big week for Drawn and Quarterly books showing up on your comic-store shelves. You want the Brian Ralph and the Anders Nilsen if you don't have them yet in a form that's pleasing to you. The Aya, well, that's up to you. There's actually a fairly active current of thinking amongst comics people against the Aya series, particularly the later volumes, an argument that says the delicate tension the first book had in presenting its now long-gone world through a nod towards the kind of soap opera enjoyed by people in that place and at that time became basically another soap opera as the story progressed. I enjoyed the work in the first big Aya volume, and look forward to the conclusion here.

*****

The full list of this week's releases, including some titles with multiple cover variations and a long, impressive list of toys and other stuff that isn't comics, can be found here. Despite this official list there's no guarantee a comic will show up in the stores as promised, or in all of the stores as opposed to just a few. Also, stores choose what they carry and don't carry so your shop may not carry a specific publication. There are a lot of comics out there.

To find your local comic book store, check this list; and for one I can personally recommend because I've shopped there, albeit a while back, try this.

The above titles are listed with their Diamond order code in the first field, which may assist you in finding comics at your shop or having them order something for you they don't have in-stock. Ordering through a direct market shop can be a frustrating experience, so if you have a direct line to something -- you know another shop has it, you know a bookstore has it -- I'd urge you to consider all of your options.

If I failed to list your comic, that's because I hate you.

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Shock Post

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Go, Look: Max Baitinger

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* this Doonesbury strip annoyed a lot of people that make their living from models other than newspaper syndication revenue. I don't see it. I think it's a gag, not a brief filed before the High Court Of Nerd. I'll forgive him the implied myopic view of comics for the sake of a joke -- I mean, I'd probably forgive him that view anyway, but certainly in this context I can work up very little fury. I'm sure he knows plenty of people not tied into that specific model that make comics and make money doing so, which makes me think the joke may be an exaggeration of things. Imagine that.

image* Chris Arrant talks to Terry Dodson. Ryan Alexander-Tanner talks to Farel Dalrymple. John Rovnak talks to James Kochalka. Ben Morse talks to Sean T. Collins.

* I always love it when there's a new Jessica Campbell post at Best Jokes.

* early Segar.

* there's a lot of cool stuff out there to buy right now. I like this t-shirt and that t-shirt. I also like David Lasky's art a lot, and David Lasky is one of many, many cartoonists now selling original pages on Etsy. I like Richard Sala's art a whole hell of a lot, too, and he has like 18 billions thing for sale on the absolutely foundational site that is Comic Art Collective. I don't usually talk about stuff to buy, at least not directly and not comics, but the Internet remains the most fantastic comic book shop there ever was.

* Jacob Canfield takes a walk through student-run college cartooning magazines.

* Johanna Draper Carlson on BBXX: Baby Blues: Decades 1 & 2. Michael Buntag on MIND MGMT #7. Caleb Mozzocco on Dark Reign: Young Avengers. Rob Clough on The Return Of The Magic Whistle #12 and Windy Corner #1. Sean Gaffney on Negima! Magister Negi Magi Vol. 37.

* finally, is that you, Wally Wood?
 
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Happy 64th Birthday, Rich Buckler!

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February 5, 2013


Go, Look: Jed McGowan's Voyager Comic

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Your 2012 SPACE Prize Winners

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The folks at the long-running independent comics show SPACE have announced their 2012 prize winners.

MariNaomi (Kiss & Tell A Romantic Resume Ages 0 to 22, Harper Perennial) and Katherine Wirick (No One Is Safe, Kreider-Wirick LLC) shared a tie for first place in the general category. Third place in that category went to Wild Child #1 from M. Young. The Mini-Comic/Short Story first place winner was And Then One Day from Ryan Claytor at Elephant Eater Comics. Second place in that category went to "The Only Two" in Panel #18 from Tony Goins and Andy Bennett through Ferret Press, while third place was taken by Suzanne Baumann with As Eavesdropped #3. The webcomics category was Katie Valeska's Next Year's Girl (1st Place), MariNaomi's "Smoke In Your Eyes" at The Rumpus (2nd Place) and Steve Peters and Bianca Alu-Marr for The Comicverse at Awakening Comics.

The winners will receive plaques at SPACE 2013 in April. The general prize comes with a cash award of $300 and the other categories come with a $100 prize.
 
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Go, Look: Hellen Jo's 2012 Year In Review

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Go, Read: Joseph Hughes On Lack Of Black Writers At The Big Two Mainstream Companies

ComicsAlliance Editor-In-Chief Joseph Hughes has written a piece about the lack of black writers historically and currently at the big mainstream comics companies, getting into very specific reasons why he thinks the numbers are what they have been and what they are now. I do have more sympathy than I probably should for temporary race and gender disparities at comics companies because of the specificity of the skill-sets needed and the way that comics companies are either flat-broke or run as if they're flat-broke. I think there are times when a snapshot of a specific company at a specific time might be super-unflattering and I can accept that -- whether I should or not, I don't know. But over the long-term, where it's not a snapshot but a camera left on for months and years, and the numbers aren't just low but at zero, at those times and in that way the record is telling and damning, particularly for companies that simply don't choose to spend their resources to make this situation a better one.

I've avoided the comments.
 
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Go, Look: An Uno Moralez Comic Somebody Linked To

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Go, Bid: Dave Sim High Society Pages At Heritage Auctions

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Here. I think those are some really cool pages, and practically even tiny dot of ink is a memory for me. While they are out of my price range, I'm sure there's someone out there reading this for which this will be a comfortable buy. If nothing else, you should maybe click through and go to the giant scans of the pages; they're really something, those scans.
 
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Go, Look: The Adventures Of Annette And Merlin Jones

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Go, Look: True Facts About Bears

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Go, Look: An Oddly-Drawn Bob Fujitani Golden Age Story

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Blake Bell Could Use Your Help With The Next Bill Everett Book He's Doing And He's Willing To Pay

Here. He's looking for Target Comics #8 (1940) and Silver Streak Comics #1 (1939). So am I, really, but Blake wants them to put them to good use. It delights me that there's this attention to Bill Everett given that he was such a key figure in the dominant comic book genre and had such a stop-and-start, difficult professional path. Also, I always enjoy reading those comics.
 
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Go, Look: Sam Hiti Mini-Gallery

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

* Derf Backderf posted the above page for a forthcoming SLG anthology called SLG Stories Volume Two: Too Stupid to Die. I don't usually like posting entire images like that when they're not covers or one of a number, but I hope Derf will forgive me as I want people to know about the SLG book so it can be on their individual radars -- it's apparently to fund a move into a new space.

image* there will be a massive Wolverine book out in time for this summer's movie. This probably shouldn't drive its own point here, but Marvel's book collecting strategies over the last 20 years have been so bizarre at times that them doing something that makes basic sense strikes me as noteworthy. Also, it's sort of fun to see what Marvel considers the important Wolverine books. That character was I believe created by Len Wein, John Romita Sr. (design) and Herb Trimpe (first comic appearance).

* an Igort book from Jonathan Cape.

* another Wilfred Santiago sports book, this one on Michael Jordan in Spring 2014. That's good news.

* I don't usually just link to promotional sites, but this photoset for the Julio's Day book from Gilbert Hernandez garnered my attention earlier this morning. With this book and the Marbles volume, this should be a big year for one of the world's great cartoonists.

* Comic Book Creator is imminent.

* the latest First Second brochure only had two books on it I hadn't seen before: something called The Cute Girl Network, by Greg Means and MK Reed and Joe Flood, and the second Tune book from Derek Kirk Kim, called Tune: Still Life. Both are due in November. I know the Kim will be good and Flood seems like he was grown in a laboratory to make First Second-style comics.

* you can read about color Kevin O'Neill Warlock comics being collected this Fall here: 2013-02-01_Nemesis_colour.pdf

* you can read about the latest release from SelfMadeHero here: Muder_Mile_Press_Release_web.pdf

* Sonny Liew talks here about his work helping put together a comics line for Epigram Books.

* finally, Austin English sent out a release on behalf of a new offering at Domino Books, Tusen Hjartan Stark #1. That book features the work of Warren Craghead, which is enough for me right there. The page below is by Joanna Hellgren.

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Not Comics: The South Wall Of My Bedroom, 1976-1978

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Go, Look: Elvisdead

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* there's a new place to buy books and read about books and complain about the way people read and buy books. Here's the page that comes up on a graphic novel search. That's certainly an odd window into the comics medium.

image* RO Blechman remembers Maurice Sendak. Zainab talks to Sonny Liew.

* Jen Vaughn makes a good point that a created by designation would be nice, and you probably have room for one if you can list Alex Ross twice.

* Rob Clough on a bunch of minis. Sean Gaffney on Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Vol. 9. Grant Goggans on more of those Legion Of Super-Heroes comics. Colin Panetta on The Badger #25.

* it's difficult for a link-blog like this one to link to a column that takes on multiple subjects, so I don't expect I'll do a lot of linking to the "Crossing Borders" column, but I thought this one featuring Bastien Vives and Jeroen Janssen worth braving the clumsiness of presenting it here.

* a personal message from Spider-Man.

* Sean Kleefeld on indie comics marketing and broader racial issues.

* J. Caleb Mozzocco takes a costumed-focused look at a new videogame-related comic. I'm glad he did that, because I got that comic book in the mail and I had no idea what the hell was going on.

* Shannon Smith would like you to remember that it's just comics.

* this is pretty fascinating: Krista McCracken found some comics in a missionary publications called Indian Record.

* finally, Joost Swarte sings the blues.
 
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Happy 58th Birthday, Val Semeiks!

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Happy 45th Birthday, Megan Kelso!

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Happy 28th Birthday, Katie Skelly!

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February 4, 2013


Spain Rodriguez And Mort Meskin Are The Judges Choices For The Eisner Hall Of Fame

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The judges for this year's Will Eisner Comic Book Industry Awards have named underground legend Spain Rodriguez and Golden Age comic book great Mort Meskin to that group's Hall Of Fame.

They will be joined by four individuals from the following list, to be picked by eligible comics professionals.

* Marjorie Henderson Buell (aka Marge)
* Howard Cruse
* Lee Falk
* Bud Fisher
* Bill Griffth
* Al Jaffee
* Jesse Marsh
* Tarpé Mills
* Thomas Nast
* Gary Panter
* Trina Robbins
* Joe Sinnott
* Jacques Tardi

You can vote here, if you're one of those eligible people.
 
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Al Stine, RIP

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Go, Look: Henrik Rehr Tumblr

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Go, Look: World War 3 Illustrated Remembers Ed Koch

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World War 3 Illustrated remembers the late Ed Koch on its tumblr. It's actually refreshing to read something that's not a sunny recollection of the late former mayor's outsized personality or criticism of Koch's personal sexuality and failure to act on the early days of the AIDS crisis. Those are super-legitimate areas of inquiry, but the mayor the 20th Century's most important city is likely to have a bigger legacy than one or two talking points. I hope WW3 will do more perspective-providing pieces moving forward.
 
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Go, Look: John Byrne Draws

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A Quick Update On Yesterday's Angouleme Festival Closure

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As was our hunch with yesterday's report on the prize winners, including Grand Prix designate Willem, the prize going to Akira Toriyama was an anniversary prize like those given out in past years, although articles like this one cite the cartoonist's massive worldwide sales success as opposed to how he might have done in the authors voting that produced a finalists list from which Willem was selected. That same article notes that around 1/3 of the authors eligible to vote took the time to do so. I would have thought there were more than 1500 qualifying cartoonists, but it could be that I'm just used to North American shows where there's a different standard and one that usually includes all sort of non-comics makers in the professional ranks.

I would imagine that Toriyama's special prize will mean some sort of major exhibit on his work or manga more generally at the 2014 show, the same way that the Uderzo exhibit this year seemed to have served as a popular counter-balance against a modest Jean-Claude Denis retrospective.

If you'd like some Angouleme-related stuff to look at maybe not just the stuff that's in the Collective Memory a bit down the page, you can familiarize yourself with the grand prix winner here, you can enjoy the exquisite cartoon imagery of special prize winner Akira Toriyama here, and you can look at a whole bunch of 24-Hour Comics made just for the show here. If you're looking for something not on a screen to read coming out of the show, I like both of the UK works that won awards: this one and this one.
 
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Go, Look: Ronald Searle In Poland, 1948

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Nice To See Maggie Thompson Will Stay Busy With, Among Other Things, A Gig At Scoop

Here. I hadn't really checked to see what Maggie Thompson would be doing post-CBG, so I'm glad to see she'll be keeping her hand in with comics at the Comic-Con blog and with Scoop. Thompson has legitimate old-school fan credibility that can't be manufactured, not anymore, and I think that will be an important of comics culture until a couple of generations after that one passes.

On a personal note related to comics magazine, I received the new TCJ this weekend. I was pleased to see them go flip-covers with Tardi and Sendak, which is something that we did a lot in the 1990s, partly to maybe get some comics shops to at least display one of the covers and partly because it was hard to sell advertising space with so many magazines more directly serving the bulk of what comics was putting out there. It's astonishing to me that The Comics Journal will have outlasted Wizard, Hero Illustrated and CBG, but I'm happy for that fact.
 
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Go, Look: Manal And Alaa: A Love Story

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Go, Look: Lilli Loge

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Unfortunately, I Was On My Headphones

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Comics By Request -- People, Projects In Need Of Funding

By Tom Spurgeon

image* I've mentioned this before a couple of times, but Jess Johnson is selling Jeff Johnson-era, mid-1990s comics art at really cheap prices to meet some financial obligations. I never buy comics art, and I bought a page of this stuff. I also already own one from this era, a page from a story that appeared in Buzzard. So I can attest to how pretty these pages are.

* veteran cartoonist Jim Lawson has a Kickstarter up that's about as close as I've seen to a pure pre-order. And here's a kickstarter that has a way to go and a while to get there. Rick Stromoski is closing in on another Soup To Nuts-related crowd-funder.

* the family of this young Captain America fan could use help with costs of his funeral.

* here's an already-funded kickstarter that still has miles to go before it stops taking funding.

* I'm linking this up several days ahead of it rolling out, so I bet this is resolved in terms of the immediate drama, but Corey Pandolph was selling rejected New Yorker cartoons to free his car.

* finally, it's not comics, but please support Ralph Bakshi's animated project if you're so inclined, or I'll never hear the end of it.
 
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Go, Look: Plastic Man #22

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Go, Look: The BamBam Collective

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund follows up with last week's sentencing of a Missouri Man for having some porno comics imagery.

image* check out this swell-looking Steve Ditko page.

* Jevon Phillips talks to Matt Fraction.

* help out David Brothers with his list of black writers at DC/Marvel.

* Colleen Doran would like you to know all of the ways in which sending your art unbidden to various comics professionals is annoying to those professionals and counter-productive to the general aims for such a sending. I agree with the practicalities of this. I know I can't look at material that isn't published because I'm told that's a good way to be sued.

* Shannon Wheeler on working for exposure.

* Carla Hoffman draws a comparison between fake girl geeks and fair-weather fans, which may be the first time I've come close to understanding what a fake girl geek is.

* Nate Powell draws Salt-N-Pepa. Max draws a frankenfish. John Kenn draws every Saturday afternoon I had as a kid. Matt Madden draws a bar in Angouleme. Mattias Adolfsson draws something where I don't get the title. Jim Mahfood draws Hitman. Dustin Harbin draws a bunch of different things. David Aja draws Daredevil. Graham Annable draws his family on Saturday mornings. Lisa Hanwalt draws a Basilisk Lizard. John Byrne draws John Byrne. Domitille Collardey draws a young George Saunders. Mark Schultz draws a scene from 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.

* finally, there can't be a whole lot of superhero art more 1970s than this piece.
 
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Happy 35th Birthday, Souther Salazar!

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Happy 62nd Birthday, Dez Skinn!

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Happy 51st Birthday, Tom Sniegoski!

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Happy 53rd Birthday, Scott Saavedra!

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February 3, 2013


Le Figaro: Willem Wins 2013 Angouleme Grand Prix; It Looks Like Akira Toriyama Won A Special Prize

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The first newspaper source I've seen with the grand prix going to Willem and other prize winners is here. As expected after Lewis Trondheim leaked the finalists' ballot via Twitter and then immediately noted that the assembled room of past winners wasn't familiar with all of the finalists (Chris Ware, Alan Moore, Akira Toriyama and Katsuhiro Otomo joining the eventual winner), the award goes to the Dutch cartoonist, widely published in the French-language market through Cornelius and in publications such as Charlie Hebdo.

The other thing that's happened is it looks like Akira Toriyama may have won a special prize in the spirit of previous prizes given people like Uderzo, prizes that are tied into an anniversary or date rather than to the festival's awards cycle more properly -- this tweet says it's a 40th anniversary prize. In this case I'm guessing -- guessing -- that the award ties into him doing extremely well on the authors' balloting that led to the finalists ballot from which Willem was chose. I can't tell all the way; Europeans tweet weird. I'll back away from this if I had it wrong.

No matter what went down, Toriyama's a wonderful cartoonist, and having him involved in some way with next year's show would be a potential significant boon to attendance, I'd think. It would also be both an important step in terms of making up for the festival's complete historical lack of Grand Prix winners from the manga tradition, and a reminder that they didn't just elect one of those cartoonists to the actual Grand Prix given a great opportunity to do so.

Other Major Prize-Winners Announced Sunday:

Prix du meilleur album
* Quai d'Orsay Volume Two: Chroniques diplomatiques, Christophe Blain and Abel Lanzac (Dargaud)

Prix spécial du jury
* Le Nao de Brown, Glyn Dillon (Akileos)

Prix de la Série
* Aama, Vol. 2, Frederik Peeters (Gallimard)

Prix Révélation
* Automne, Jon McNaught (Nobrow)

Prix Patrimoine
* Krazy Kat (1925-1929), George Herriman (Les reveurs)

Fauve Polar SNCF
* Castilla Drive, Anthony Pastor (Actes Sud/L'an 2)

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Listen/Read: All Things Tim Vigil And Faust (Not Likely To Factor Into Today's FIBD Grand Prix)

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Okay, I'm Officially Super-Confused And It's Only 5:45 AM

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From Lewis Trondheim's twitter feed comes this photo indicating that this is some sort of finalists' ballot supplied the past winners to vote on the Grand Prix at Angouleme and that this list is Alan Moore, Katsuhiro Otomo, Akira Toriyama, Chris Ware and Willem. That's what this writer thinks, too. I've also seen some people saying Willem won -- and in fact, Trondheim's tweeting indicates that the authors present voted for the only author on the list with which they were familiar. Then again, we have no idea how the voting is being done. This tweet indicates a special prize may be given.
 
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Prix Schlingo 2013 To Guillaume Bouzard

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I am not totally familiar with the award, but the 2013 version of a prize named after the late cartoonist Charlie Schlingo went to Guillaume Bouzard, according to a small flurry of reports showing up on-line this weekend. It's co-sponsored by the newspaper Charante Libre and involves the winner receiving a special case of wine, so I figure on that basis alone it's worth reporting acknowledging here. I believe it's been around since 2009 -- Schlingo's accidental death at age 49 came in 2005.
 
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Go, Look: Eric Reynolds Jumps On Tumblr

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actually, he's probably had this for a while and I haven't noticed, or I noticed and forgot; good stuff, though
 
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I Assume There's Going To Be A Ton Of FIBD News Today

But until then, enjoy this article about horrible experiences that BD authors had signing books, and I'll try to find a fun "go, look" to put on top of this post while I figure stuff out.
 
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Go, Look: Chicken

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Go, Look: Colin Cotterill

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Go, Look: Last Train To Old Town

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Go, Look: Pages From A Future Ten Cent Manga Release

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OTBP: lisbon

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If I Were In Angouleme, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This

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Happy 64th Birthday, Richard Marschall!

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posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
FFF Results Post #322 -- Why? I Don't Know Why!

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Comics Or Kinds Of Comics You'll Buy Whenever You Come Across Them That You Can't Quite Explain Why You're Buying Them." This is how they responded.

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Kiel Phegley

1. The 1977-78 Black Lightning series
2. Teen Titans comics written by Bob Rozakis
3. Any American comics adaptation of a classic anime like Captain Harlock
4. Early '90s Harvey Classics
5. Craig Yoe issues of Big Boy Magazine

*****

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Craig Fischer

* Chick Publications Crusaders comics (1974-81);
* Issues of National Lampoon edited by Henry Beard and Doug Kinney (1970-1975);
* King's Popeye Career Comics (such as Popeye And Marketing And Distribution Careers [1972] and Popeye And Agri-Business-Natural Resources Careers [1973]);
* Pfaum's Treasure Chest Catholic comic book (1946-1972); and
* Any low-fi minicomics I find in comic shops in cities I'm visiting for the first time.

*****

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Tuck

1) Super-Team Family, DC Super-Villain Team-Up or anything with Captain Comet
2) Frank Robbins' 70s work: Particular weaknesses for The Shadow (even tho I've bought those issues dozens of times), Ghost Rider, and Captain America
3) Random 80s/90s B/W Glut Books (Roachmill, Strange Attractors, etc. ... I'm pretty sure i have multiples of some issues, and (still) missing others)
4) DC's various attempts at reviving Captain Marvel (aka "Shazam")(except this most recent iteration. Enough's enough.)
5) Pre-1990 Deathlok appearances

*****

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Jack Chick Crusaders Comics
2. Random Spire Christian Comics
3. Random Charlton Comics From My Youth
4. Richie Rich Digest-Sized Comics
5. Anything 1970s Kirby For $2 Or Less, Even If I Know I Have It

*****

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Iestyn Pettigrew

1. All Atlas comics -- the originals not the recently revived versions. The Phoenix with art by Sal Amendola and Destructor I have multiple copies of.
2. Any published by Adventure and Eternity -- Kid Cannibal being a fave.
3. The Defenders written by David Anthony Kraft.
4. Magazines about comics -- particularly interview based ones -- Comics Interview being the best. I think I might have about four copies of the one with Paul Chadwick despite not owning any Concrete comics.
5. "Dial H for Hero" in Action Comics where they were using characters sent in by readers.

*****

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Chris Duffy

1. Gold Key comics by Don Glut
2. Charlton horror
3. Issues of the original run of Nova
4. Non-Conan sword and sorcery comics from the 70s.
5. Any comic with the U-Foes.

*****

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Marc Arsenault

1. Ka-Zar
2. Bad parody or fantasy comics like Mighty Morphing Rump Rangers or Sprocket Man
3. The Comics Reader
4. non-translated manga -- often actually in Chinese
5. 70s Popeye Comics

*****

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M. Emery

1. Any English humour/adventure comic for a $1 or less.
2. The Phantom by Australian publisher Frew, I've read the Phantom for over thirty years, can't stop now.
3. Harvey Comics digests, Richie Rich, Casper etc
4. High end reprints of golden age comics and newspaper strips. They're piling up faster than I can read them through a fear the golden age of reprints will end and they'll go out of print.
5. English Hardcover comic annuals. My poor cataloging skills has resulted in the purchase of many multiple copies.

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. Sleazy horror comics from Eerie Publications
2. 1960s/70s underground comics
3. Anything with dinosaurs (the goofier the better)
4. 1960s paperback comics collections
5. Movie tie-ins (particularly when the artist has no visual references to the movie in question)

*****

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Sterg Botzakis

1. Any issue of Marvel Two-in-One
2. Comics drawn by Wally Wood
3. Any version of the Red Circle superheroes
4. Digest sized comics of any ilk
5. Random issues of What If?

*****

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JE Cole

1. Any Whilce Portacio drawn Wetworks issues.
2. Wintermen by Brett Lewis and John Paul Leon
3. Any Eternity Comics Robotech issues
4. Anything by Posy Simmonds
5. Anything by Tsutomu Nihei

*****

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John Platt

1. Late Eighties, early Nineties b/w indy comics
2. Cartoon books about cats
3. Sad Sack comics
4. Anything from Eclipse Comics
5. Those weird Neal Adams Continuity Studios books

*****

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Sean Kleefeld

1. Adaptations of 20000 Leagues Under the Sea
2. Adaptations of Journey to the West/Stories about the Monkey King
3. Pirates!
4. Cheap, promotional comics licensed from big publishers (e.g. Superman in Victory by Computer)
5. Infinity War crossovers

*****

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Douglas Wolk

1. The issue of "Batman: Gotham Adventures" (#56) whose plot revolves around Batman never having seen "In the Realm of the Senses"
2. Any early-'70s comic whose cover mentions or alludes to "women's lib"
3. Translations of "Asterix the Gladiator" into languages in which I don't yet own it
4. Recent Big Two "custom" superhero comics (like the AAFES/military New Avengers comics)
5. Brendan McCarthy comics I already own several times over

*****

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John Siuntres

1. Silver and Bronze Age DC War Comics
2. Dell/Gold Key TV Tie In Comics
3. Obscure Marvel Westerns
4. Any Non Action Hero Charlton Comics
5. Old Issues of TCJ, Amazing Heroes, Comics Interview etc.

*****

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Bob Temuka

1. Black-and-white Australian reprints of superhero and horror comics I already own in their original form
2. Post-Kirby Kamandi comics
3. The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe (Deluxe Edition)
4. Comics where they reprint old pre-Silver Age stories with "hilarious" new modern dialogue
5. Marvel's What The-!? series

*****

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Shannon Smith

1. Any comic I see published by Continuity Comics.
2. Any Bill Mantlo comic I see.
3. Any 70s or 80s movie or TV adaption.
4. Any Treasury sized comic. (Whitman, Marvel, DC etc.)
5. Marvel's Barbie comics.

*****

suggestion and samples provided by Kiel Phegley; thanks, Kiel

*****
*****
 
posted 9:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Bart Beaty In Angouleme 2013 04: An Eight-Cosplayer Year

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By Bart Beaty

imageAnd on the third day it was cold and windy. But at least no snow, and only a very little bit of rain (so far).

The crowds are definitely out. I haven't tried to go into the main tent, but the queue is as long as I've ever seen it. No one is sure if that is a reflection of huge crowds or just the fact that the FIBD is, for the first time in my memory, checking bags at the entrance to the tents (we're all suspected Malian terrorists, I guess) which is slowing down the process. I would guess that the wait this morning to enter was about half an hour, which is long for this place.

I have now seen all of the exhibitions, inlcuding Comes and Andreas (both well-staged, Andreas particularly so), though neither is of great interest to me personally (historically significant artists whose work is not to my taste). The Disney exhibition, while aimed at young children, is probably the best staged thing here this year -- it wouldn't look out of place at one of their theme parks. Really well done. The Korean show was one that I found very informative since I know so little about the topic. Always nice to learn something new at a show like this. For me, none of the shows were great, though a few were quite good.

There are about eight cosplayers here, which is seven more than I had ever seen at this festival. The manga/superhero tent was almost completely empty this morning, which says something. If there is a book of the festival, I'm not sure what it is. Your favorite cartoonist likely has a long line in front of him. I think that the wait for a Luke Pearson autograph yesterday was probably more than an hour, which is so fantastic that it makes the show right there.

I'm headed back to the tent for one final pass through. I have a hellacious travel day tomorrow, departing Angouleme at 6:00am and arriving (if all goes well) 19 hours later in Calgary, so this will be my last report from FIBD. I'm sure Tom will have word on the prizes and presidency, which will be announced while I'm in the air over the Atlantic, tomorrow. I'll try to put some cogent thoughts together for a fuller report this week.

*****

To learn more about Dr. Beaty, or to contact him, try here.

Those interested in buying comics talked about in Bart Beaty's articles might try here.

*****

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*****
*****
 
posted 2:46 am PST | Permalink
 

 
The Comics Reporter Video Parade


LA Zine Fest 2013 Promotional Video


Steve Sack Drawing Lance Armstrong


Adrian Tomine At Skylight Books In Hollywood


Lynda Barry In Appleton


William Gaines Interviewed


Robert Crumb Interview Found At The Reproduckt Site
 
posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
February 2, 2013


CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from January 26 to February 1, 2013:

1. The digital comics service comiXology expands into the French-language market and signs a distribution deal with the Delcourt group.

2. Angouleme underway in France. After the excitement of last year's Festival President Art Spiegelman and his jaw-dropping central exhibits, things settle down a bit anticipation-wise with Jean-Claude Denis presiding. A new Grand Prix winner system is in place, even if there are conflicting views as to what that means. There are tons of North American cartoonists on-hand, building on a tradition that's settled into placed over the last several years.

3. Gerald Scarfe cartoon fallout continues.

Winner Of The Week
comiXology

Loser Of The Week
Gerald Scarfe

Quote Of The Week
"I can drive my car really fast and instead of bullets flying out the windows like in movies, it is empty beer cans." -- Tony Millionaire's Linked-In Update That Someone E-Mailed Me.

*****

today's cover is from the all-time series Classics Illustrated

*****
*****
 
posted 7:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In Angouleme, I'd Go To This

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posted 1:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In Vancouver, I'd Go To This

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posted 1:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 58th Birthday, Bob Schreck!

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posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
February 1, 2013


Go, Look: Genevieve Kote

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posted 9:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Bart Beaty In Angouleme 2013 03: Rainy Day Blues

imageBy Bart Beaty

And on the second day, oh how it rained...

Rain has dampened the mood of the Angouleme Festival considerably on day two, with showers on and off all day, including some particularly heavy storms in the mid-afternoon. It's not the worst I've seen it here (I recall one year when the tents leaked at their seams, sending publishers scrambling to get the stock out of the way) but it is raining just hard enough to be annoying. You sort of have to really want to go to another location, which leads to a lot of people standing around not doing much.

Crowds are definitely down. The Bulle New York (with the smaller, cooler publishers) is solid busy but by no means overcrowded. People stand around with the usual exchanges: what's worth buying? What's worth seeing? I've picked up fewer books than is typical for me, but I also need to hit a bank machine. I'll probably do most of my own shopping tomorrow.

As for the shows, I still have a couple to go to but nothing is setting the world on fire. The Jean-C Denis presidential show at the Hotel St Simon is about the smallest I've ever seen (I guess, technically, Trondheim's was smaller, as he moreorless refused to have one...). His pages are super-polished, with so little evidence of reworking I first thought that they might just be enlargements. They're not, they're just that slick. This has led to a number of conversations about the fact that super-polished original comics art is kind of dull in comparison to a Spiegelman, Kurtzman, Herge, Ware -- people whose pages show a lot of their process and provide a new perspective. Uderzo's work is super clean as well, so the two big shows have that in common.

Definitely a flat-feeling show at the moment, with nothing really very memorable. The highlight for me on the first day was the OuBaPo Show, featuring Francois Ayroles, Etienne Lecroart, Alex Baladi, Andreas Kundig, Matt Madden, Lewis Trondheim and others displaying innovative and experimental comics techniques. I will never look at the feet in a Largo Winch comic the same way again!

*****

To learn more about Dr. Beaty, or to contact him, try here.

Those interested in buying comics talked about in Bart Beaty's articles might try here.

*****

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*****
*****
 
posted 6:20 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: A Bunch Of Herriman

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posted 5:55 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Slate Book Review And Center For Cartoon Studies Name First Cartoonist Studio Prize Shortlists

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Slate is the unsurprising host for news of the first shortlist for the Cartoonist Studio Prize as named by Slate Book Review and the Center For Cartoon Studies. There are two categories, print comics and webcomics. The nominees in print are:

* Lilli Carré, Heads Or Tails (Fantagraphics)
* Juan Diaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido, Blacksad: A Silent Hell (Dark Horse)
* Tom Gauld, Goliath (Drawn And Quarterly)
* Brandon Graham, King City (Image)
* Jesse Jacobs, By This Shall You Know Him (Koyama Press)
* Na Liu and Andres Vera Martinez, Little White Duck: A Childhood In China (Graphic Universe)
* Luke Pearson, Hilda And The Midnight Giant (Nobrow Press)
* Chris Ware, Building Stories (Pantheon)
* Julia Wertz, The Infinite Wait And Other Stories (Koyama Press)
* Frank M. Young And David Lasky, The Carter Family: Don't Forget This Song (Abrams)

Web Comics:

* Ryan Andrews, Sarah And The Seed
* Gabrielle Bell, Lucky
* Boulet, Bouletcorp
* Vince Dorse, Untold Tales of Bigfoot
* Patrick Farley, The First Word
* Dakota McFadzean, The Dailies
* Randall Munroe, xkcd
* Winston Rowntree, Subnormality
* Noelle Stevenson, Nimona
* Jillian Tamaki, SuperMutant Magic Academy

Winners named in March.

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posted 5:50 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: Jaime Hernandez New Yorker Illustrations

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posted 5:25 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Christjan Bee Sentenced To Three Years In Federal Prison

The West Missouri Man found guilty of having pornographic cartoon imagery on a computer he owned was sentenced to three years in federal prison followed by five years of probation. Christjan Bee was apparently turned in by his wife, and had multiple comics images depicting sex between adults and minors on a computer he owned. The original charge of receiving the images was dismissed. The prosecutor has decided for all of us that these images have no artistic value whatsoever. This is a chilling outcome -- as described thus far it's lousy in itself, lousier for its ramifications.

The CBLDF put a lengthy article up here upon learning of the conviction. Mr. Bee did not contact the Fund. Again, it's important that the Fund continue to be supported so that any person facing a charge like this at least knows that there is legal advice and potential support out there for them.
 
posted 5:20 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Domitille's Trunk Of Fail

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posted 5:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
What Voting For Grand Prix Winner At Angouleme Looks Like

The French-language news clearinghouse ActuaBD.com follows Benoit Peeters to the place where as an author he is allowed to vote on this Grand Prix winner -- whether he's voting on a recommendation to a jury or the winner itself is unclear, but just that there's a ballot is kind of an amazing thing given that this is maybe the biggest honor in comics. At any rate, the voting is apparently not exactly... heavy right now. I'm betting on Lightning Lad as the winner.
 
posted 5:10 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Steven Sanders

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posted 5:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
So I Missed That Wesley Willis Joined The Wonder Woman Cast

Here. The comic book was sent to me, and there was something about the character that made me think I should know who that was, but I thought it was a comics reference I wasn't getting. I lived in Chicago in the early '90s, too. Cute. One can only hope Studs Terkel joins the JSA, Del Close stands in for Alfred Pennyworth and that Steve Albini becomes the new Snapper Carr.
 
posted 5:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Cartography Club

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posted 4:55 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Writer Peter David Returning Home One Week Early

The writer Peter David, recovering from a stroke suffered over the holidays, has been doing well enough on his program that he is to return home a week early. That's nice news. Kathleen David's posts on this like this one have been pretty amazing in the way that her blog has always been great: as this kind of sustained, focused, detailed look at daily life as lived in the home of a comics professional. This post on how to lend a hand has been at the top of David's blog for a while.
 
posted 4:50 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Jack Kirby Museum Tumblr

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posted 4:45 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Comments To Steve Bissette's Modest Proposal

If you're interested in fan perspectives at all, you might want to read the comments under Steve Bissette's "Modest Proposal" post about boycotting Dragon*Con because of their financial involvement with Ed Kramer. The two distinctions that people are making in objection to a possible boycott are that Kramer is accused but not yet convicted, and that they feel that the convention has done all it can to break from Kramer and that on a certain level this is impossible for them to do more than they have. Others strongly disagree. It's hard for me to register an opinion worth noting because conventions aren't so important to me that there aren't a lot of things that would have me happy to do something else for a weekend.
 
posted 4:40 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Jannis Esselbrugge

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posted 2:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

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By Tom Spurgeon

* it would seem to me there is no bigger news possible in this world than the double-whammy of comiXology moving into the French-language market and then coming to terms on a deal with the Delcourt group. I don't even know if there's anything to say about those stories right away except "holy crud" and "there they are." I guess if you're into following the progression of companies like comiXology, this is a big deal because they are now a dominant player in what they do by what seems to duffers like myself a wide, wide margin. Anyway, the second of the two should be fun to track as other companies join up (or don't) and as any permutations in terms of what this makes available to English-language audiences potentially crop up.

* Digital Manga, Inc. has shut down its print arm to focus on the digital-delivery side of the business. Get in while you still can if there's something that interests you; it won't be open much longer.

* here's an article on digital publishing that may have some value to comics people thinking of pursuing that option, or pursuing it more grandly, or continuing to negotiate it in some way. I reject outright any model that substitutes sales-success as a standard that can be used to trump the desires of an artist when it comes to how their work is presented and sold, but it's interesting to see someone point out, for example, that there are models that strongly benefit early-adopters in a way that isn't replicable and models that may gain the desired traction but not then bring with them any profitability.

* I can't imagine wanting to know anything more about that TV show Strip Search than what the foundational comics blogger Gary Tyrrell has here, except maybe who wins.

* I had no idea they published comics at the Flying Colors site.

* Dylan Horrocks continues to release his inner perv, which we all know was just sitting there waiting to be released.

* speaking of Alt-Comics Generation Two, I'm not sure I all the way knew that the Hutch Owens strip attempt was at GoComics.com now.

* one aspect of the now-successful Bill Day crowd-funder that got kind of got lost during the discussion of re-using content and swiping imagery is that a lot of what people paid for will be delivered as e-books.

* finally, while this is technically print news it's also a step in the company and creator plan for digital content: Top Shelf announced two hardcover print editions of the digitally-distributed series by Zander Cannon and Kevin Cannon in their two-guys-anthology Double Barrel. The fact that they added formats with certain vendors midstream indicates there's still some casting around to do there, so this bears watching on a lot of levels. In fact, that comiXology seems to be doing so well and will thus set the digital policy for a lot of print-oriented companies just by being humongous and offering them an option makes all of the alternative attempts that much more important.

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posted 2:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In Angouleme, I'd Go To This

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posted 1:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In Los Angeles, I'd Go To This

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posted 1:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* it's Hourly Comic Day.

image* Laura Sneddon talks to Mike Carey. Alex Dueben talks to Max Allan Collins. Sandra Beasley talks to Dean Haspiel.

* he hates it when that happens.

* not comics: three nice pieces from Eleanor Davis.

* here's a video from the older member of Team Axe Cop that offers instructions to help him get married.

* so I guess there's a small-press guy tussling with Marvel/DC legal over use of the word "superhero"? That's one of those legal things that seems super-aggravating but that also seems like it wouldn't exist in a perfect world (those companies jointly owning the term and keeping folks from using it).

* Marc Mason went to that show in Arizona and has three posts on it.

* I think I totally missed this interview from late 2012 with Simon Hanselmann.

* Leslie Stein is doing art for a story by Michael DeForge. That's the kind of thing that would usually run in "Bundled," but I liked it enough I couldn't wait on it. Plus you get to stare at some Leslie Stein art.

* I'd like to become friends with that kid from College Park, Maryland.

* finally, a video profile from the BBC about The Phantom.
 
posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 58th Birthday, Diana Schutz!

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posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 56th Birthday, Gilbert Hernandez!

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posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 53rd Birthday, Ron Frenz!

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posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 36th Birthday, Jim Rugg!

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posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy Seventh Anniversary, Act-I-Vate!

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posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 12th Anniversary, Daniel Clowes Bibliography!

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posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
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